Memory loss can occur for a variety of reasons. Some loss of memory with aging is natural - it is normal to experience short-term forgetfulness, such as the inability to remember a person's name you met recently. Memory loss that is not a normal part of aging is called dementia. The most common form is Alzheimer's disease. Also common is multi-infarct dementia caused by successive strokes that gradually destroy brain tissue. Memory loss may also result from alcoholism, infection, or repeated head trauma.
What can I do to prevent mild memory loss?
- Exercise your mind.
- Exercise your body.
- Eat a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids
- Avoid alcohol.
- Take a multivitamin.
What can you do to prevent dementia?
The steps listed above for preventing mild memory loss will also help you establish a reserve against dementia. Some additional preventive measures include the following:
- Consider a daily aspirin. Some studies link the use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) with reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease.
- Maintain a positive attitude. A positive emotional state may help ward off cognitive decline, according to a study of nuns and mental function. Social ties, involvement in church and community and meaningful relationships all seem to be protective.
- Keep your blood pressure down. High blood pressure is the strongest risk factor for multi-infarct dementia.