Mem­ory Loss in Women: Is It Age or Menopause?

De­creas­ing lev­els of es­tro­gen af­fect brain func­tion

Wellness Update - - Contents - – Holly L. Thacker Health­hub from Cleve­land Clinic at www.health.cleve­land­clinic.org

Mem­ory dif­fi­culty is a typ­i­cal symp­tom of menopause, but some might fear that it’s an early sign of Alzheimer’s. Many de­scribe a sud­den in­abil­ity to re­call sim­ple facts as “brain fog.” If this sounds fa­mil­iar, don’t worry. You’re not likely los­ing it or de­vel­op­ing de­men­tia. Dip­ping lev­els of es­tro­gen — whether from menopause or hav­ing a baby — af­fect brain func­tion.

Facts to ease your mind about mem­ory “blips” Peo­ple with Alzheimer’s aren’t aware enough of their con­di­tion to rec­og­nize it and tell their doc­tor. The first sign of Alzheimer’s of­ten is for­get­ting how to per­form ac­tiv­i­ties, such as driv­ing home from the store, not fum­bling for words. Gen­er­ally, those with Alzheimer’s are much older than women ex­pe­ri­enc­ing menopause — usu­ally in their 40s and 50s. Midlife “brain fog” is treat­able! Hor­mone ther­apy has been shown to sharpen a menopausal mind and may help pro­tect you from fur­ther mem­ory loss. Ex­er­cis­ing your brain is another way to stay men­tally fit. If your job is left-brained, re­lax by do­ing right-brained ac­tiv­i­ties and vice versa. For ex­am­ple, if you work as an ac­coun­tant, do some­thing phys­i­cally ac­tive or cre­ative in your spare time. The im­por­tant thing is to en­gage and chal­lenge both sides of your brain. Midlife doesn’t have to be the be­gin­ning of the end. It can be the start of your best years yet.

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