Forgetting Things More Often? It Might Be a Sign to Check Your Health!

Memory problems can be a warning sign of future health issues, and making certain lifestyle changes could help protect you from serious illnesses. If you’re noticing difficulties with your memory, it’s essential to be aware of the increased risks and take steps to minimize them.

A study conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston found that people with cognitive impairment have a 39% higher risk of experiencing a stroke compared to those with normal cognitive function. Cognitive impairment can be an early sign of memory difficulties and becomes more common as you age.

The number of older people worldwide is projected to grow substantially, leading to increased prevalence rates of cognitive impairment and stroke, especially in high-income countries. According to Bruce Ovbiagele, chair of the university’s department of neurology, these conditions are major factors contributing to disability.

Stroke and Cognitive Impairment: A Dangerous Connection

It’s already established that stroke can lead to cognitive impairment and worsen existing memory difficulties. However, this new study explores the link between cognitive impairment and stroke risk by analyzing data from 18 studies conducted across the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, and Europe. These studies involved over 120,000 people.

The research revealed a clear connection between cognitive impairment and a higher risk of stroke. Obstruction of the brain’s arteries (brain infarcts), inflammation, atherosclerosis, and other vascular irregularities all contributed to this increased risk.

The researchers emphasize that cognitive impairment needs to be recognized as a potential early sign of cerebral infarction. Timely management of vascular risk factors is crucial for the prevention of future stroke events and the deterioration of cognitive health.

How to Reduce Your Stroke Risk

There are several lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your risk of stroke and improve your overall cognitive health. These include:

Regular Exercise

Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining good health and reducing the risk of stroke. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. Include muscle-strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups at least two times per week.

A Healthy Diet

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products can help reduce your risk of stroke. Limit your intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, and try to cut back on salt, which can contribute to high blood pressure (a significant stroke risk factor).

No Smoking

Smoking significantly increases your risk of stroke, as it damages your blood vessels and increases blood pressure. If you smoke, quitting is crucial for reducing stroke risk and improving overall health. Consult with a healthcare professional about resources and strategies to help you quit.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Keeping your weight in check can help lower your stroke risk. Calculate your body mass index (BMI) to find out your healthy weight range. If you need to lose weight, make gradual adjustments to your eating habits and physical activity levels, aiming for a gradual and sustainable weight loss.

Control Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for stroke, as it puts extra strain on your blood vessels and heart. If you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to develop a plan for lowering it through lifestyle changes and medication if necessary.

Monitor Blood Sugar Levels

People with diabetes have an increased risk of stroke. If you have diabetes, work closely with your healthcare team to manage your blood sugar levels effectively.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to high blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke. It’s essential to drink in moderation, which means no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.

Making these lifestyle changes can not only help reduce your risk of stroke, but also improve your overall cognitive health. Prioritizing your well-being is crucial for living a healthy and fulfilling life, so it’s essential to take action and minimize the risks associated with cognitive impairment.