Don’t Stress About Mid-Life Stress
A Swedish study which has followed 800 women aged 38 and up since 1968 has found a link between mid-life stress in women and the increased risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Stressors like divorce, death of a loved one and caregiving tend to overwhelm women in midlife. Moreover the lead author of the study, Lena Johannson from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology in Gothenburg University in Sweden, claims that the same probably holds true for men.
Having read this study, I feel the doom of yet another Alzheimer’s predictor: Chronic stress. For who at mid-life can possibly live stress-free, untouched by the realities of daily living which include loss and grief? This study is stressing me out!
The best way to deal with this distressing news is to learn how to cope and maximize brainpower.
- Exercise the stress hormones out of your body in order to prevent or dissipate the inflammatory response which can damage the brain. Also, exercise in order to build new neurons in the brain and create neuroplasticity. You can keep on increasing brain cells by changing up your workout routine.
- Find a hobby to stimulate the mind and at the same time give you a creative outlet to compensate for the loss and destruction.
- Get social. There is great power in numbers. Since evolutionary times people have been tribal seeking protection and belonging. Friends can be your best therapists.
- Adhere to a healthy meal plan. The diet which is good for your heart is good for your brain.
- Make sure that you see a doctor for optimum vision and hearing. Your sensory input keeps your brain alert. When a visual or hearing pathway is not working, it will no longer serve your brain and you will lose it.
- Manage cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. Keep insulin levels stable.
- Statin medications with long term use may ward off dementia according to John Hopkins researchers.
- Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have made a discovery that, if replicated in humans, suggests a shortage of zinc may contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which have been linked to defective proteins clumping together in the brain.
For more information on caregiving read my book, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show