Cognitive decline refers to the deterioration over time of things such as memory, language and spatial perception. Cognitive decline is often caused by natural factors like aging, but might also stem from an injury to the brain. However, there are some common, general symptoms of cognitive decline regardless of the cause.
Here are a few ways to support the brain prior to experiencing cognitive decline, as well as some of the signs of cognitive deterioration.
Ways To Support the Brain
While there is no guarantee that taking steps to support brain health will help someone avoid or delay cognitive decline, they are healthy steps to take nonetheless and might give someone peace of mind if they worry about mental deterioration in their older years.
In addition to eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, taking vitamin and mineral supplements to assist with the organ’s functions can also be useful. Some examples of supplements that support the brain include:
- Fish oils, which contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids
- Creatine, which comes naturally from many animal products but can be beneficial in supplement form to vegetarians and vegans
- Ginkgo biloba, which many people enjoy drinking as a tea
No pill can replace a well-balanced diet, but some supplements provide advantages to certain people. It is wise to consult the advice of a medical professional prior to beginning any supplementation routine.
Engaging in Exercise
There are many studies that show a positive correlation between physical activity and brain health. One reason for this is that working out assists with the supply of blood to the brain. Enjoy the many advantages of exercise by participating in activities such as walking, jogging, tennis, pilates, basketball, softball and more. Many people find that joining a regular workout class keeps them motivated and has the added benefit of enabling them to make new friends who have similar interests.
Keeping the Brain Occupied
One of the more obvious ways to keep the brain sharp is by keeping the brain occupied with mental activities. These might include reading, doing crossword puzzles or learning a new language.
Signs of Cognitive Decline
Sometimes, the signs of cognitive decline can be subtle and go unnoticed until someone points them out to the person experiencing the symptoms. Here are some of the signs to watch for.
Everyone forgets things from time to time, whether it is where they placed the remote or what time a particular appointment they have occurred. Forgetfulness can arise from things such as stress and juggling too many tasks at once. This type of forgetfulness is normal and may be curbed by using a planner or having a daily routine. However, a marked uptick in the number of times someone fails to remember something important can be a cause for concern, especially when there are no obvious underlying explanations.
Losing one’s sense of direction can be another sign of cognitive decline, as the mental maps that people have in their heads begin to fade. Getting lost can be inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst. Without a reliable map or sense of direction, someone might wander into a dangerous neighborhood or end up on a back road while low on gasoline with nobody around to ask for directions. This symptom becomes especially alarming when a person begins to get lost in places they should otherwise be familiar with.
Uncharacteristic impulsivity is another sign of possible cognitive deterioration because it shows a decline in the ability to make good decisions. If someone shows sudden signs of violence or behaviors such as excessive shopping or gambling, it could indicate something about the health of their brain.
The brain is an important organ that requires regular maintenance and upkeep. Everyone should watch for signs of cognitive decline as they age and do what they can to help support their brains in the meantime.