May is Mental Health Awareness month. A month where people can begin to take notice and search for solutions for mental illness. Having adequate mental health is an important part of one’s well being. Since the brain has so many functions, it is critical to find ways to keep it functioning at full capacity. Unfortunately, 1 out of 3 Americans over 70 suffer from memory loss, and an estimated 5.4 million people are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Even though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are several measures that can be taken in order to ensure one’s mental well being is in check and to prevent memory loss from happening.
To understand what we can do, we must first recognize the problem. What causes memory loss and mental issues? The answer to this can vary from person to person. Long term memory loss such as Alzheimer’s and dementia are usually uncontrollable, but can be slowed. Short term memory loss can be a result of several factors such as nutrition deficiency, sleep deprivation, tobacco and excessive alcohol use, head injuries, stroke, depression and stress.
Now that we understand the problem, let us now look at the solutions. First off, there are several medications that can be taken to help with memory loss. One of the best selling memory aids on the market is an over the counter product called Prevagen®. This medication contains a protein called aqoaequorin, a protein originally found in a species of jellyfish called aequoren. Humans have this certain protein, but as we age, we begin to lose many of these valuable proteins. In addition, there are several prescription medications that can help out with slowing the affects of alzheimers disease. These medications; cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne) and memantine (Namenda) help with memory loss, confusion, problems with thinking and reasoning due to Alzheimer’s.
In addition to medications, there are also many herbal supplements that can be utilized to help with memory loss. These supplements such as ginko, rosemary, sage and ginseng can help greatly with retaining memory. In regards to sleep deprivation, lets face it, when you are tired your mind does not think clearly, which of course can lead to memory loss. The best way to combat this is to simply get a good nights sleep, but for those that need an extra boost for getting to sleep, sleep aids are also available to help you get to sleep. Supplements like melatonin can help you get the sleep that you need to think clearly and to help you remember things throughout your day.
Just as there are many medicinal ways to help improve your memory, there are also many personal habits that can help. A correct diet is one way mental health can be maintained. Foods, like leafy green vegetables contain vitamin E and folate, which are critical minerals. For all you beer and wine drinkers, there is evidence that drinking could help your memory as well. Studies have shown that a beer or glass of wine contains properties that can improve concentration, reasoning, memory, and even prevent dementia.
Memory loss can truly be a debilitating and annoying condition. Nothing is worse when you are trying to remember something and just can’t. However this condition does not have to stand in your way. Through medications, natural substances and just a healthy life style in general, you can try to combat this condition and get to thinking clearly again.