Tackle stress to avoid poor memory

New research showcased at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference suggests that stressful events, such as losing your job, divorce or the death of a loved one, can age your brain by at least four years.

While this particular piece of research did not link stress and increased risk of dementia, it is known that stressful experiences can have an adverse effect on brain function – which can lead to dementia in the future.
Tackling stress is just one of many actions that can be taken to avoid the risk of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Society offers eight top tips for reducing the risk:
  1. Try to manage at least 30 minutes of activity at least five times a week – even just brisk walking will make a difference.
  2. Avoid smoking, and if you are already a smoker take steps to give up.
  3. Eat a healthy balanced diet which includes oily fish, fruit and vegetables. Limit your intake of red meat and sugar.
  4. Keep alcohol levels to a maximum of 14 units a week – for men and women.
  5. If you have other health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, work with your GP to keep them managed.
  6. Maintain a healthy weight – this will help you to avoid conditions like heart disease and diabetes but also give you more energy to enjoy life.
  7. As well as physical activity, exercise your brain each day by doing puzzles or learning something new.
  8. Don’t go it alone – be socially engaged with a good social network.
The NHS Choices website has an excellent section on stress with lots of other tips, sources of help and even a quiz to help you work out how you are feeling.