Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten what you went in there for? How often do you find yourself looking for your glasses or your phone? Do you have to read the same passage in a book two or three times before it sticks?
These seemingly innocent “normal” incidents are easy to dismiss — they happen to everyone, right?
But these small brain blips might not be harmless inconveniences.
They could be a sign that your brain is beginning to become inflamed.
Brain inflammation is what many scientists believe to be the potential cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. (1,2,3,4)
Since research indicates the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s can manifest a full 9 to 18 years before most people are diagnosed — it seems like we need to start talking about these early warning alarm bells more. (5,6)
A lot more…
Because I’d argue that these little things, when added up, could be warning signs. Signs that your brain might need more attention than you think…sooner than you realize.
Keep reading to find out the subtle ways your brain could be trying to tell you it’s in distress.
1. You can’t find the right word to finish your sentences
This used to happen to me all the time. I’d be feeling fine, chatting happily with a friend — and then my words would start to trail off at the end of my sentence. I’d be searching for 10, 15, and sometimes 30 seconds for the word I was looking for…
It can feel really scary the first few times it happens to you — and even scarier when you realize it’s happening more often.
This lapse in language skills is one of the first ways your brain communicates with you…telling you that things aren’t as good as they should be. When this starts to happen, it could mean your brain health is headed in the wrong direction. (7)
2. Your mood is as cheerful as Eeyore’s
One of the common things women nearing menopause complain about is their mood. I mean, who can blame us? We’ve been taking care of everyone and everything for decades — and now we’re tired. Heap on hormonal changes, increased financial responsibilities (hi there, college tuition expenses!), and the necessity to slip into caregiving roles…and sometimes it feels like you’ll never be cheerful again.
Sometimes, changes in mood can indicate more than just frustration. Sometimes, when your mood drops, it’s because there are changes happening to the levels of chemicals in your brain.
Changes in mood are one of the signs doctors look for when diagnosing dementia. (8)
3. You feel frustrated and overwhelmed
So, like I just discussed — getting older, having lower levels of vital hormones, and just needing a break from it all can make you feel off when it comes to your mood.
But if you find yourself routinely feeling overwhelmed by decisions or simple tasks, it could be a sign you’re brain’s not feeling 100%.
When you feel easily agitated, especially if it’s accompanied by anger — it could be an early sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. (9)
4. You missed your last doctor’s appointment
We’ve all spaced and forgotten to write down an appointment or coffee date with a friend.
But if you find yourself regularly forgetting to show up for things, it could be a sign your brain’s overloaded and not feeling its best.
In fact, memory loss is one of the first things people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia experience. (10)
5. You have to read the directions over again
Do you read the instructions for heating up that cauliflower crust pizza, then have to read them again a few times to get the information to “stick?”
Do you find yourself either forgetting what you just read, reading it over again a few times before it hits home, or losing key details of what you’re reading almost immediately after reading it?
What about the generally reduced ability to focus and concentrate on the task at hand? Or plan and execute tasks? These worrying signs can happen in the early stages of brain decline. (11,12,13)
It’s Not Too Late To Save Your Brain
Just because you’ve started to see the worrying symptoms of brain decline, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it!
In fact, I’d argue that NOW is the best time to start cleaning out that deadly plaque and polishing up your beautiful brain until it positively shines — before things get worse.
Because unfortunately, I’ve seen what happens when cognitive decline takes hold of a brain and won’t let go.
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You see, my mother has been suffering from dementia for many years. And the steady march of plaque that’s taken over her brain has been heart-wrenching to watch. She has her lucid moments but struggles to find words, recognize me, and even form coherent sentences.
What’s worse, I saw many of the early signs of synaptic plaque disease in her years prior — I just didn’t know the dark and terrifying place they were leading to.
And I wonder if I had the tools at my disposal that I do now if I could have prevented some of this, or at least slowed the progression of this horrible situation. Maybe I could’ve had a few extra years with my mom.
I will tell you this — I will never, ever neglect my brain again. And I will never, ever stop educating women about the dangers and signs of cognitive decline.
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- “A Proposed Hypothesis on Dementia: Inflammation, Small Vessel ….” 31 Mar. 2021, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2021.679837/full.
- “Inflammation in the brain linked to several forms of dementia.” 16 Mar. 2020, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200316204635.htm.
- “The Impact of Inflammation on Cognitive Function in Older Adults.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390758/.
- “Direct link shown between brain inflammation, neuron death, and ….” 24 Mar. 2022, https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/direct-link-shown-between-brain-inflammation-neuron-death-and-cognitive-changes-mice.
- “Pre‐diagnostic cognitive and functional impairment in multiple ….” 12 Oct. 2022, https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/alz.12802.
- “Signs of dementia seen 18 years before diagnosis.” https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/research/care-and-cure-research-magazine/signs-dementia-seen-18-years-diagnosis.
- “Initial Screening of Patients for Alzheimer’s Disease and Minimal ….” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2880929/.
- “Diagnosis and Management of Dementia: A Review – PMC – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7462122/.
- “Behavioral and Psychiatric Symptoms of Dementia and Rate of ….” 20 Aug. 2019, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2019.01062/full.
- “Dementia – PMC – NCBI.” 7 Feb. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384525/.
- “Vascular Dementia – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430817/.
- “Major Neurocognitive Disorder (Dementia) – StatPearls – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557444/.
- “Cognitive Deficits – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf.” 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559052/.
The information provided on this blog is intended for general knowledge and educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. The author and publisher of this blog are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any suggestions, products, or procedures mentioned in this blog.