Smoking, drinking, and artificial sweeteners quickly become habits that are hard to break. We all know these things aren’t necessarily good for us, but what if they were also affecting our brain health, especially in our senior years?
Regardless of how your loved one started developing memory issues, it’s important to make sure they are taken care of. Make sure they are in a senior living community with a memory support program.
Memory Loss & Dementia
Dementia is defined as the loss of cognitive functioning, thinking, remembering, and reasoning, to the point where it interferes with daily life and activities. Some dementia patients are unable to control their emotions, and their personalities may change.
Dementia progresses from mild to severe, with the mildest stage affecting a person’s functioning mildly and the most severe requiring the person to rely entirely on others for basic daily activities.
The causes of Alzheimer’s and related dementias vary depending on the type of brain changes that occur. While research has discovered that certain changes in the brain are linked to certain types of dementia, the underlying causes are unknown in the majority of cases. Rare genetic mutations may result in dementia in a small number of people.
Although there is no proven prevention, leading a healthy lifestyle may help reduce risk factors associated with these diseases in general.
Whether you’re a teen or young adult, a parent, or a senior you’ve probably wondered: Is vaping bad for you? Although some of this data is still being debated, recent findings show that vaping has negative side effects on a user’s mental health.
If you’re over the age of 50 and vaping, it’s time to put down the e-cigarette. The frightening headline-grabbing warnings about vaping-related illnesses also apply to you.
Nicotine use, even in that from vaping, is linked to an increased risk of several neurological diseases, including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
A long period of heavy alcohol consumption can cause brain damage. People who drink heavily for an extended period of time are more likely to have a reduced volume of white matter in the brain, which aids in signal transmission between different brain regions. This can cause problems with how the brain functions.
Long-term heavy alcohol consumption can also lead to thiamine B1 deficiency and Korsakoff’s Syndrome, a memory disorder affecting short-term memory.
Doctors have discovered several ways in which alcohol affects the brain and memory. Binge drinkers and those with alcohol use disorder (AUD) may experience short and long-term memory loss.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it’s critical to communicate openly with your doctor about alcohol consumption so that they can determine whether it’s safe to consume alcohol. Only your doctor can give you accurate and specific advice on this.
However, because alcohol consumption can worsen and accelerate dementia symptoms, your doctor may advise you to cut back or avoid alcohol entirely, especially if you drink heavily or have been a long-term drinker.
Although the majority of dementias are irreversible and chronic, symptoms of alcohol-related dementia can be halted or reversed if drinking is stopped and a healthy diet with vitamin supplementation is followed.
Korsakoff syndrome (also known as Korsakoff’s amnesic syndrome) is a memory disorder caused by vitamin B1 deficiency and is linked to alcoholism. Korsakoff’s syndrome causes nerve and supporting cell damage in the brain and spinal cord, as well as memory-related brain cells. Symptoms include:
- Vision problems
Korsakoff syndrome and its associated thiamine deficiency are not the only ways in which heavy drinking may contribute to chronic cognitive changes and decline. Alcohol abuse can also cause brain damage by:
- Alcohol’s direct toxicity on brain cells.
- Repeated intoxication and withdrawal cause biological stress.
- Cerebrovascular disease caused by alcohol.
- Head injuries caused while drinking
Aspartame is a popular sugar-free sweetener that has been available in the US since the early 1980s. Over 6,000 products contain it, including Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Crystal Light, and Kool-Aid. It is also marketed under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal.
The role of aspartame in memory loss is a health concern associated with artificial sweeteners. Several studies on the effect of aspartame on cognitive function in both animals and humans have been conducted. There was no scientific evidence of a link between aspartame and memory loss in these studies.
Do Vaping, Alcohol & Aspartame Cause Memory Loss?
Even though it’s marketed as a “healthier” alternative to cigarette smoke, vaping has been linked to cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s.
Heavy alcohol use, whether over one night or several years, can cause memory lapses. This could include having trouble recalling recent events or even an entire night. It can also cause permanent memory loss, known as dementia.
Aspartame is the only one that gets a pass, for now. So far no studies have linked aspartame to memory loss or dementia.
If you’re concerned about your loved one’s memory issues as they transition into a senior living community, call us today to discuss our memory care program.