Welcome back to Aging Wisely:
Brain Health for Everyone. A five-part video series presented by doctors
Migliorini and O'Connor. Here in part two we'll discuss what happens
when the brain ages. Everyone's brain ages. It turns out normal brain aging begins
as early as your 20s and 30s. As the brain gets older,
it atrophies or gets smaller and some of the connections
between brain cells, may be lost and new connections
might not be made as easily.

As people reach their 40s, 50s,
and beyond, they start to notice
some of the consequences of normal brain aging. People tell us things like:
"I don't think quite as quickly." "I can't remember names like I used to." "I forget small things
like where did I leave my keys?" "Where did I park my car?" "I have more trouble concentrating
and multitasking." When they had these experiences,
some people get worried and wonder if their brain aging
is the same thing as dementia. Dementia is not a part
of normal aging. Let's set the record straight
on what dementia really means. It's not a specific disease, but rather a general term
used to describe a decline in thinking that is severe enough to interfere with a person's ability to
perform basic everyday activities. There are many different conditions
that can produce dementia. These include things like brain diseases
that get worse over time called neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body dementia,
and frontotemporal dementia.

Stroke and other vascular disorders
affecting the brains blood vessels. Nutritional deficiencies. Metabolic, and endocrine disorders, and substance abuse. So how do you know
whether your memory changes are just a normal part of aging or not? Everyone forgets,
but there are some rules of thumb that suggest a more serious problem. Repeating yourself many times
without realizing. Getting lost going to familiar places. Trouble coming up with
common words when talking so much so that it disrupts
your ability to communicate. Or your thinking problems get in the way of your ability
to do activities you've done all your life. If you're concerned about
your memory in any way, you should always talk to your doctor. Your doctor can do an in-office screen
for memory problems and decide whether to refer you
to a brain specialist such as a neuropsychologist
or a neurologist. Your doctor can also check to see
if you have some cause of memory loss that can be treated like
vitamin B12 deficiency, thyroid dysfunction, or depression. Now that you understand a bit more
about brain aging, let's talk about the ways
to keep our brains as healthy as possible as we get older.

Start the next video in the series: Healthy Living
for a Healthy Brain to learn more..



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