To help you Mind Your Body after age 45, here’s a wrap of the latest in health news from the past week.
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure in middle age, you’re more likely to have “brain cell loss and other damage to the brain, as well as problems with memory and thinking skills, than people who never have diabetes or high blood pressure or who develop it in old age.” So says the American Academy of Neurology in a news release. Blood pressure has been labeled a cognitive troublemaker in previous studies, and this adds more fuel to that fire.
While we’re on the subject, the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released this week finds that a woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is one in six, compared with nearly one in 11 for a man. The association says “women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s over the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.”
And you’ve heard the expression, “time is brain,” which underscores the importance of recognizing stroke symptoms that include:
• Face drooping
• Weakness or numbness of body parts
• Speech difficulty
• Sudden severe headache
• Vision loss
• Unexplained dizziness
New research finds that “knowledge of stroke warning signs was low among a nationally representative sample of women, especially among Hispanics. In contrast, knowledge to call 9-1-1 when experiencing signs of stroke was high.”
Moral of these stories: Be your own healthcare advocate. If you suspect something is wrong due to changes—slow or sudden—see your doctor, and don’t hold back. If you’re asked to monitor blood sugar or blood pressure, do it. As we age, we develop more chronic conditions—that’s just the reality, but so much of your health is up to you.