As if it weren’t enough that we are saddled with diapers and dishes, now we learn this. Studies confirm that women are at a higher risk of depression and dementia.
And guess what?
Our fluctuating hormones may be to blame. Studies show that about 3% to 5% of women suffer with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMS). Are you one of these? And as women transition into menopause they become 2 – 5 times more at risk. And when the high levels of estrogen and progesterone suddenly drop during the pre-menopause stage, some women are also at greater risk for depression.
Now we go through the menopause phase and guess what? We are now at a higher risk of dementia.
So Why Does This Happen? What Is Really Going On?
According to a study, published in JAMA Psychiatry (August 2014), it has to do with brain levels of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A). It turns out that MAO-A metabolizes serotonin, a hormone that helps control mood.
But the Study Was Small
The researchers studied 10 young women (mean age 28), 27 women who were perimenopausal (mean age 45) and 12 postmenopausal women (mean age 56). Not a really good representation, do you think?
What the Study Discovered
Younger women had the lowest levels of MAO-A, according to the research. Women in perimenopause had 34% more. And women in menopause had 16% more. The higher the levels of MAO-A were associated with crying and psychological symptoms whereas changes in menstrual cycle length were not.
So, What Can You Do?
Actually, there is a lot you can do. More and more studies are showing how lifestyle changes can affect your risk of developing dementia.
Follow a Heart Healthy Diet- What is good for the heart is good for the brain. A Mediterranean diet seems to offer the best promise of heart and brain health.
Get Plenty of Exercise- Daily movement is important. Walking, swimming or whatever you like to do. The key is to move. Still working? Get a sit/stand desk.
Stay Engaged and Socially Connected- Volunteer and get involved in your community. Make time to get together with friends and family.
Learn ways to reduce excess stress and to become more stress resilient. - Yoga, tai chi, meditation. Prayer. There are a number of things you can do that will help to lower your stress levels.
Take a few minutes today to think about how you can start taking a few steps to save your mind. After all, aren't you worth it? And if you are caring for someone with dementia, be sure to get the help you need.
Call_281-282-0770 to schedule a tour of Light Heart Memory Care. And remember to have a light heart. Everything is going to be okay.
In honor of our founder Pat Mack we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in "The Light Heart Way"
Contact Heather for more information.
Email her today for more information.
Or Give us a call today and come for a tour.