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Age-related memory loss versus dementia: What's the difference?

by , 21 September 2017
Age-related memory loss versus dementia: What's the difference?
Forgetfulness is common. Each of one us has misplaced our cell phone, forgotten where we parked
our car and drawn a blank at the grocery store after leaving the shopping list at home. But there's a
point when forgetfulness becomes concerning - especially in older adults.

Your brain changes as you age - that's inevitable. So how do you tell the difference between age-
related memory loss and dementia? While it seems like there's a fine line between these two
conditions, there are actually a number of signs and symptoms that can help you tell the one from
the other. Let's take a look…

What is dementia?

Thanks to advances in medicine and technology, our life spans are continuing to lengthen. The only downside to this? The fear of dementia is becoming a bigger concern. Dementia isn’t one particular disease – rather, it’s a combination of symptoms tied to a decline in short- and long-term memory.
 
The Alzheimer’s Association says dementia diagnosis is based on significant impairment in at least two of the following categories: Memory, communication and language, ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgement, and visual perception.
 

What is age-related memory loss?

Most people have age-related memory loss, not dementia, which is normal. If you have age-related memory loss and not dementia, you’re able to recall and describe incidents of forgetfulness and function independently and pursue normal activities despite occasional memory lapses.
 
Furthermore, you may pause to remember directions, but you won’t get lost in familiar places, or you may sometimes have difficulty finding the right word, but you won’t have trouble holding a conversation.

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Five tips to beat age-relate memory loss

The same habits that contribute to healthy ageing and physical vitality also help beat age-related memory loss. So, by taking these super-simple steps to prevent cognitive decline, you’ll enhance all other aspects of your life simultaneously. Check them out:
 
  1. Stay social: Engage with friends and family and maintain strong social ties.
  2. Exercise regularly: Start a regular exercise routine that includes cardio and strength training.
  3. Manage your stress: Try stress techniques such as breathing exercises or yoga.
  4. Get plenty of sleep: Getting eight hours or more of shut-eye each night will also prevent depression – another memory killer.
  5. Eat a healthy diet: Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and antioxidant-rich green tea.
 
If you’re concerned about your memory problems, you should get checked out by your doctor.

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