Yesterday, I was reading through some old Oprah magazines that I had collected as a subscriber. Some people collect National Geographic, I happened to be into Oprah. The fun thing is that I now have time to read but when I was subscribing, I was lucky to catch and article here and there. I am glad that I have not thrown them out yet!
I came across this article from the July 2014 issue, “Fuzzy Life, Fuzzy Brain?” by Laura Hilgers.
This article explored the possible links between midlife stress and the development of dementia.
“The researchers had tracked 800 women in Gothenburg, Sweden, from 1968 to 2005, looking at how stress affected their health pre- and post-menopause.” They discovered that those who had experienced serious stress as a result of divorce, job loss or death of a spouse around the ages of 38 and 54 “had a 21 percent increased risk of Alzheimer’s and a 15 percent increased risk of developing any kind of dementia. The more stressors, the higher the risk.” (Hilgers, 2014, The Oprah Magazine, p.62.)
We already know that constantly living under stressful conditions affects our health negatively. I did not realize that the brain could be so impacted. Hilgers explains that the hormones that are released to help our body handle stress are meant to be there for short term survival, i.e to help us escape danger. When these hormones are constantly present, they start to negatively affect neurons and their ability to function properly which can result in cognitive decline.
This article went on to suggest that we need to do all we can on a daily basis to relieve our stress. Hilgers says that research “indicates that if we make a conscious effort to calm down after a traumatic event with a range of stress reduction techniques-cognitive-behavioral therapy, regular exercise, strong social support and mindfulness activities like yoga and meditation-we may help prevent further neural damage.” (Hilgers, 2014, The Oprah Magazine, p 63.)
Yet another good reason to try a yoga class because who has not experienced stress at midlife?
Better to be safe than sorry.
Have a great day everyone,