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Study: Heart Failure Linked to Memory Loss

Memory LossA new study has taken the first step in proving a link between heart health and brain function. It now appears that older patients with heart failure have significantly reduced verbal memory capabilities.

The study, led by author Joanne Festa of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, looked at memory tests from 207 heart failure patients who were being considered for transplants. People younger than 63 performed consistently well on memory tests, despite the level of degeneration in their heart muscles. However, patients older than 63 scored lower on overall memory tests, especially on sections that dealt with recognizing and remembering words.

Festa suggested that the normal aging process is exacerbated by a decrease in blood flow. This connection means that older patients, whose brains are already slowing down, are at an increased risk of memory loss when their brain stops receiving optimum blood flow due to a heart condition.

Poor memory in older patients has also been linked to depression and attention problems. The most worrisome issue arising from these findings is that memory loss means seniors may not be capable of managing their own health issues. If an elderly person is unable to recall the medication or exercise instructions a doctor gives them in the office, there is little chance they will actually follow through with the course of treatment when they are at home.

The best and easiest way to avoid memory loss is to boost your brain function and overall health before it even becomes an issue. Here are just a few things you can start doing today to protect your memory:

  • Do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-5 times a week
  • Eat 5-7 servings daily of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants
  • Challenge yourself with mental games or puzzles
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night

If you want to learn more about memory and heart health schedule a consultation with a cardiologist today.

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