Everett Clinic neurologist Dr. Michael Chun recently spoke with host Pat Mahoney on KSER 90.7 FM Focus on Aging about dementia, the causes of the disease and ways to slow memory loss.
Dr. Chun stressed that dementia is not inevitable or a normal consequence of aging. It is a disease, a condition that causes memory loss and memory problems than can be diagnosed and treatment options considered. But it is common, and with an aging population becoming more prevalent.
At age 65, about 10 percent of people may have memory problems severe enough to be considered dementia. After age 85, as many as 40 percent of people have serious memory problems.
If memory problems hinder a person’s ability to do tasks such as balancing a checkbook, shopping, or cooking or otherwise impact their life, that’s when it’s a good idea to have the problem evaluated.
Other causes of memory problems may include medication, depression, sleep disorder, or infection. If you have questions or concerns about memory problems, start with your primary care provider, says Dr. Chun.
Ways to slow memory loss include being active physically, socially and intellectually. Walking, engaging in conversations, and learning new hobbies or skills are all good activities.
Other good ideas include eating more fruits and vegetables, eating less red meat and exercising. “All of these things help lots of other conditions as well. There’s little reason not to do these things,” says Dr. Chun.
“Whether you have progressive memory problems or not, paying attention to your lifestyle, being active, exercising, getting out and exploring the world, and taking care of your medical problems are all very helpful things that people can do for their health and their memory,” says Dr. Chun. “Taking care of your body is one of the best things you can do for your brain.”
To listen to the entire interview with Dr. Chun, visit kser.org and search for the Local Public Affairs show that aired 6 p.m., Monday, February 24.
6:32 Dementia is not: inevitable, a normal consequence of aging.
15:23 Ways to slow memory loss--Being active: physically, intellectually and socially.
19:55 Ways to slow memory loss--Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat less red meat. Exercise.
21:18 How common is dementia? 40% of people over the age of 85 have serious memory problems.
27:55 Is it dementia? Other causes of memory problems: medication, depression, sleep disorder, or infection.
30:30 Taking care of your body is one of the best things you can do for your brain.