Most Dreaded Disease - Cognitive Disorder
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Most Dreaded Disease  -  Cognitive Disorder

I find it both amusing and humbling to discover that one of my original insights turns out to be a commonly accepted term.

I have recently expressed my feelings that, for me, the most dreaded disease is not cancer, is not a heart attack, it's the deterioration of the brain.

Then I recently heard a renowned doctor, David Perlmutter, M.D. who writes and lectures about his specialty, the study of the human brain, who commented that people's most dreaded disease is not cancer, is not heart failure but, you guessed it, the deterioration of the brain, loss of cognitive function, Alzheimer's disease.

So much for my originality!

The Reality

The fact still remains that cognitive decline, and the eventual inability to recognize even the closest members of your own family is a frightening prospect.

Sometimes you will hear older adults and senior citizens say that their memory is "slipping". Oftentimes the elderly can remember in perfect detail the events that occurred decades earlier, but they have a hard time remembering something which happened just the day before.

This is a symptom of what the Oxford Journal of Medicine and Health and other respected health organizations call cognitive decline.

Natural Symptom of Aging

The medical community at large considers this a natural symptom of aging. It can also be marked by poor judgment and the inability to process seemingly normal input and information.

While diminished mental capacities, as well as physical health problems, do seem to be related to old age, most honest doctors and scientists will admit that the true causes for cognitive decline and diminished mental capacity are not fully understood.

Cognitive decline is referred to as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in medical terms. Unfortunately, the individual suffering from this weakened mental state is not always aware of the problem. MCI can often give way to Alzheimer's.

Fortunately, there are some signs and symptoms that let you know if a loved one is experiencing some level of cognitive diminishment.

- Forgetting important personal information

- Pronounced ability to recall detailed events of 40, 50 and 60 years ago

- Drastically weakened visual perception

- Inability to judge eye hand coordination, fine motor skills and time/distance relationships

- Forgetting familiar words and names

- Unable to recall where everyday items are located

- Forgetting something that was just read or experienced

- Easily misplacing, or even losing, valuable objects

- Problems organizing and planning

If you notice 2 or more of the above signs in a loved one, sit down and have a candid conversation with them. In many cases, strong-willed, independent senior citizens will be in denial of their weakened mental state.

Get Help

As mentioned earlier, this is also a sign of possible cognitive decline. Get the opinion of other family members and friends, and try to arrange an appointment with a doctor or health professional to get an expert opinion.

Controlling cardiovascular health is a great way to keep MCI and other forms of mental decline at bay for as long as possible. This includes exercise on a regular basis. Participating in stimulating social and mental activities has also been proven to help prevent, and treat, cognitive decline.

When You Hit Your 50's

Once you reach your 50s, go out of your way to challenge your mind, exercise regularly, get lots of sleep and stay socially engaged.

But there is additional hope coming from the scientific and medical community. Studies already published in the early 2000's in the New England Journal of Medicine show that increased blood sugar levels have a dramatic impact on the risk of cognitive decline.

Conclusion

The high carbohydrate, high sugar nature of the current American diet is not only the main factor in the obesity epidemic in this country, but also one of the greatest risk factors in cognitive decline.


Street Talk

Thank you, Juan, for this a very informative article and I have learnt something new again.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks for reading and for your kind comment Andrew

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Juan, another well written and informative article packed with useful insights.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thank you James for reading and commenting...

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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