In the last couple of decades research has brought a greater understanding in how the brain works, including how dementia and Alzheimer's develops. Stress is a leading factor, which should not be surprising to anyone given how the body responds to stress. As such, scientists have taken a greater interest in the role of stress as it relates to dementia and memory loss. Here are just a few of the facts regarding your current levels of stress and how it could cause your own personal experience with dementia later in life.

Stressful Careers Lead to Dementia

Stressful careers, such as nursing, doctoring and policing, have a clear-cut link to patients who currently have dementia. Parenting, not surprisingly, is also linked to dementia because being a parent is a full-time stressful job that is often compounded by working another job outside the home for pay. Parents who also work very stressful careers are more likely to end up with dementia earlier on than their unemployed counterparts or people who did not have stressful careers or who were raising children.

Multiple Stressful Events Lead to Dementia

If you suffer numerous losses, from your home to your spouse and/or a child, these events also create stress. Compounded stressful events lead to temporary memory loss and finally dementia because your brain is trying to cope with these losses and cannot. The only way to cope is to shut down the memory areas of your brain, which unfortunately shuts down most of what you remember about other things too. Dementia brought on by repeated trauma in a short period of time just shows how the body uses a very dysfunctional means of addressing a very difficult period in your life. 

Recognizing Your Life and Your Self in Any of the Above Factors

If you have experienced trauma, experienced multiple losses over a short time, are a parent (especially a single parent, a parent of a special-needs child and/or a single parent of a special-needs child) and/or work a highly stressful job, stop. For each of these stress factors, your risk for developing dementia goes up. Clearly you cannot stop being a parent, but you can get help from somewhere so that you can get a break. Find a less stressful job right now. Losses are a part of life, but you can get counseling to deal with it and you can find ways to cope better. Move away from and avoid all of the stress you can to help reduce your risk of developing dementia, or at least prevent the early start of most forms of stress-related dementia.

For more information on dementia, contact a center like Alta Ridge Communities.