Although Alzheimer’s disease gets a lion’s share of the news about dementia, we know that Alzheimer’s is but one form of the condition. Now, a recently reported study has identified a link between anemia and dementia.
The body experiences anemia when there are not enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout. When the brain is not getting enough oxygen, cognitive abilities decline. Lack of proper nutrition, kidney disease, blood disorders and cancer are some of the conditions that can cause anemia.
Seniors recognize that as they age certain abilities will become diminished, but never consider that some of these could lead to memory loss.
With that in mind and a focus on hearing issues, research began. In 2011, the results were published, stating that “the researchers found that study participants with hearing loss at the beginning of the study were significantly more likely to develop dementia by the end. Compared with volunteers with normal hearing, those with mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss had twofold, threefold, and fivefold, respectively, the risk of developing dementia over time. The more hearing loss they had, the higher their likelihood of developing the memory-robbing disease.”
Back in the early 1990’s Duke University research found that brain scans of depressed elderly subjects showed quicker loss of brain volume compared to those that did not suffer with depression. Researchers reported that the accelerated aging went beyond the obvious unhealthy habits such as diet and lack of exercise.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, writer Shirley S. Wang reported that medical science is finding more and more that psychological disorders are showing up as diseases in the body, not just in the mind. Diseases that would normally be associated with old age are showing up in younger individuals who have dealt with or who are dealing with depression, psychological stress and post – traumatic stress disorder for long periods of time. To name a few, these diseases include dementia, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. (An earlier article, Mental Health in Later Life: A Guidebook, may be found on the Care for You website.)