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What is Cognitive Impairment?

     What is cognitive impairment and how does it affect you.  More importantly, what can be done about it.  Dealing with the physical changes that occur as we age is bad enough, but the mental decline that we experience can be even worse to accept.  Maybe we don't have to give in to decline in the age of new research on the growing population of baby boomers.

     So exactly what is cognitive impairment?  According to the CDC, cognitive impairment manifest itself when one has trouble remembering or learning new things.  Another sign of cognitive impairment is a decline in concentration or decision making affecting ones life.  These deficiencies can be mild or severe.  With mild cases one can usually tell that they have impaired cognitive function but can still manage their everyday activities.   With more severe cases, the person may not be able to live independently any longer.


     Another downside to cognitive impairment is the cost.  People with a cognitive impairment have 3 times the hospital visits than those with other ailments.  This doesn't include all of the unpaid care that occurs in the homes of those taking care of these individuals.  Now is the time that we need to be proactive in preventing the onset of dementia by instituting a healthy lifestyle and exercising our brain


     This is according to the National Institute of Health.


Research has identified lifestyle practices such as education, leisure pursuits, intellectual engagement, and expertise that are associated with successfully maintenance of cognitive abilities. Physical activity, diet, and social activity are additional factors linked to maintained cognition in aging that have been used as a basis for interventions to prevent cognitive decline."


     The MacArthur Study on Successful Aging concluded that those individuals with a more mentally demanding career maintain higher acuity as they aged.  The study also illustrate that socioeconomic status and life experience effects cognitive function in the older adult.  This year an article published by Harvard Medical School in their health publication gave examples on how learning new information can slow cognitive decline.  Going back to school was one way to exercise your brain.  In this article they linked back to this site for your educational exploration.  Another article was published a week before that in Harvard's Women Health Watch explores how a four part combination strategy can stave off cognitive impairment.  Diet, exercise, socializing, and challenging your brain all play a significant part in your outcome.  These are two great resource to learn more.  So challenge your brain today.  Learn a new subject, spend time playing a game (chess), get out and visit the world, and eat right and get plenty of exercise and rest.  These can be some of the best years in life when done right.


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