One thing that no human being on this earth can avoid is the fact that they will one day age. There are a number of normal concerns which come with aging, and one of the ones people fear most is ARCD or Age-Related Cognitive Decline.
According to the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, a certain level of memory decline with age is normal, such as forgetting an appointment or losing your keys. Memory loss is considered a serious health issue when it starts interfering with your ability to interact with others and complete daily tasks such as collecting the mail.
When an individual suffers from ARCD, it is usually a gradual decline of memory function, while a sudden decline, on the other hand, is a pre-curser to a more serious cognitive disease such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
To be diagnosed with ARCD, it’s important that you receive a professional test and diagnosis rather than self-diagnosing, because, as mentioned above, some memory loss is normal, so it’s not worth it to worry yourself over nothing.
But it is important to get tested if you suspect you may be suffering from ARCD, as it could accelerate to a more serious cognitive disease very quickly. You should be especially vigilant if you have one of the established risk factors such as advancing age, history of a heart attack, or you are of the female gender.
Reduce Risks If You Have ARCD Symptoms
If you find you are already in a high-risk category, or are already experiencing ARCD symptoms, it’s important you start taking steps to change your lifestyle in order to lower any additional risks. Numerous studies have started connecting Alzheimer’s and Dementia to a number of additional risk factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
If you currently spend a lot of your time on the couch, it’s time to start on a plan to become more active. This can be anything from an afternoon walk each day, to the addition of a new hobby such as regular golf lessons or gardening. Discuss with your doctor which form of exercise is best for you, but the goal is to raise your heart rate, and keep it elevated, for a period of at least 30 minutes every day.
Additionally, take a look at your diet. Is it full of plenty of fruits and vegetables? Do you eat a lot of fried food? A good indication of the quality of your diet can be discerned by looking at your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. If you can get, and keep, these under control, you’re probably well on your way to reducing your risk for a decline in cognitive function. This is also the time to quit smoking and drinking if you partake in either of these activities.
It’s also critical to keep your mind active and make an effort to engage it in something challenging every day. This can be done by learning a new skill or expanding your knowledge on one you already have. You can also download brain teaser type apps to your device and spend some time solving them at least once a day.
Numerous studies carried out by the NIA (National Institute on Ageing) have shown that these apps do make a difference in keeping the mind much more functionable for years to come.
Either way, if you find yourself suffering from increased, or sudden, memory loss, it could be a sign of ARCD or something more serious. So, you should speak to your health care provider right away, as well as start taking steps to mitigate your risk of further cognitive decline.