High Stress Levels Could Impact Your Memory

As if we need another reason not to stress, it could affect our brain functioning.

A new study finds people with higher than normal levels of stress are more likely to have a decline in cognitive function. That can affect concentration, ability to learn new things and memory.


Stress Test

The JAMA study looked at nearly 25,000 participants who were 45 years or older over the course of a decade. Stress was measured using the Cohen Perceived Stress Scale, a self-assessment with 10 questions. Participants took the questionnaire once at the beginning and later during a follow-up visit. Their cognitive function was also assessed with regular check-ins.

Nearly 5,600 participants reported elevated levels of stress. Those individuals with higher levels were associated with having higher odds of poor cognition.


Significance of the Study

Experts have suggested that there are modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia. And according to the JAMA study, a 10-25% reduction in behavior factors, like stress, could prevent over a million cases of Alzheimer’s.

Diving a little deeper, it can impact other areas of your life. Medical experts have noted that stress leads to unhealthy behaviors like smoking, poor eating habits, and lack of exercise, as well as sleep problems. All of those lifestyle factors contribute to a variety of health issues.

The JAMA study points out that stress is a modifiable risk factor. Therefore the researchers suggest there should be a screening for high-risk older adults to employ strategies to reduce it.


Stress Less

The solution to lowering this modifiable risk factor is just to relax. That’s easier said than done.

The Mayo Clinic, along with other reputable sources, offer these 10 suggestions:

  1. Be more physically active
  2. Eat a healthy diet
  3. Try to quit unhealthy habits like smoking or excessive caffeine or alcohol
  4. Meditate
  5. Connect with others
  6. Incorporate yoga into your routine
  7. Get enough sleep
  8. Write in a journal
  9. Find a creative outlet like music or art
  10. Seek counseling

About Advena Living

At Advena Living, we want to help our residents live their best lives. For some people, moving into a long-term community might exacerbate their stress levels. That’s why our teams help new residents get acclimated to their new surroundings and neighbors.

We specialize in assisted living, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and long-term care. We have seven locations throughout Kansas, including Bonner Springs, Cherryvale, Clay Center, Clearwater, Rose Hill, Topeka, and Wichita.

Our rehab-to-home programs help individuals recover after an illness, accident or procedure and who need intensive therapies to get stronger and return to independence. For those who need assistance with routine activities on a daily basis, we also offer long-term care.