Health Topic of the Month October 2016

brain healthWhat is Cognitive Health and How Does It Affect You?

Have you heard of the term ‘cognitive health’? Simply put by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), cognitive health is your ability to learn, think and remember. “Some declines in cognition and memory with age are normal, but sometimes they can signal problems,” says the NIA. So how do you know what’s normal and what might be an indicator of a more serious problem? And, how can you stay on top of your cognitive health to prevent those more serious issues?

Normal vs. Abnormal Decline in Cognitive Health

The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Emory University has several examples of what is normal when it comes to aging. For instance, here are some normal effects of aging on your cognitive health:

  • Trouble making new memories
  • Hard time multi-tasking
  • Recalling names and things more challenging

If you find yourself experiencing any of the above, don’t worry too much. That’s normal. What is not normal? Well, here are some symptoms the Cleveland Clinic says can be signs of cognitive impairment:

  • The inability to perform complex daily tasks such as taking medication or driving.
  • Loss of insight.
  • Poor judgment.

What Can You Do to Preserve Your Cognitive Health?

There’s a lot you can do to work on your cognitive health. For instance, Your Brain Matters suggests activities such as painting, reading different styles of books, jigsaw puzzles, learning to dance, cook a new recipe or researching a topic matter that you’re interested in (like cognitive health!).

Another great resource is Lumosity. It’s like a gym for your brain. You’ll find numerous games created by scientists and game designers to keep you entertained while also working on your brain muscle (although the brain is not actually a muscle, it behaves like a muscle in the fact that can be trained to improve different cognitive functions). You can also head over to our 9Health Ready website where you can find a PDF, several blog articles and information on health screenings all regarding the topic of mental health.

If you want to learn more about cognitive health, it’s not too late to find a 9Health Fair near you. Each 9Health Fair location is staffed with medical professionals that you can speak with at no charge.