Have you ever felt like your mind has gotten “foggy” as you’ve gotten older? Are you more frequently feeling lacking in energy and having difficulty concentrating on the essential things in your life?
These could all be signs of a problem that’s becoming all too common among adults: subjective cognitive decline. If you’re feeling the symptoms, that’s your brain telling you it’s time to take action.
Fortunately, there’s hope. Becoming aware of subjective cognitive decline can fortify your brain for long-term protection well into old age. Here’s a look at what you should know about subjective cognitive decline and some simple steps you can take to keep your mind healthy and sharp.
The Impact of Subjective Cognitive Decline
Subjective cognitive decline (SCD) is a self-reported experience of worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss.
Individuals with subjective cognitive decline may feel that they frequently forget important information and may have trouble retaining new memories as clearly. They may find themselves feeling disoriented even when going about normal daily activities.
As we get older, our cognitive decline may worsen memory and brain health problems over time. Therefore, not only is it crucial to treat the symptoms of cognitive decline as they appear, but it is also necessary to take proactive steps every day to help prevent the onset of cognitive decline as we age.
Subjective Cognitive Decline is a Rising Issue
If you feel like you may be experiencing symptoms of cognitive decline, you are not alone. In the United States alone, a study by the Centers for Disease Control found that over 11 percent of adults live with symptoms of cognitive decline—nearly one in nine people.
What’s more, the rates of subjective cognitive decline also appear to be higher among older people than younger people. As the average age of our population continues to rise, the prevalence of subjective cognitive decline among the total population is increasing.
Indicators of Subjective Cognitive Decline
Because subjective cognitive decline is a self-reported experience, the specific symptoms may be unique to each person. However, there are generally a few commonly reported symptoms of SCD that many individuals experience as typical signs of loss of cognitive function.
Early Symptoms of Cognitive Decline
For individuals just starting to feel the signs of subjective cognitive decline, early symptoms can vary. However, typical signs and symptoms experienced by many people facing subjective cognitive decline include:
- Memory loss. It includes forgetting names, places, or recent events, ranging from those memories formed long ago to more recent memories taken from everyday life.
- Problems with planning or organizing. For these individuals, activities like multi-tasking or planning for upcoming events may become especially difficult.
- Difficulty with recognizing faces. In these cases, individuals may otherwise have full memory of another individual—until they see that person’s face and have a tough time recalling their identity or personal information.
- Struggle to find the right words. In some cases, this may lead to difficulty remembering the right word at the right time and may often include losing vocabulary.
- Misplacing items. It can be particularly frustrating, with an individual putting something down and forgetting where they left it only a few moments later.
- Problems with calculations. These can range from a simple miscalculation in your everyday life or having trouble keeping count. In some cases, this may also affect calculations like figuring out the tip at a restaurant or counting the number of days until an upcoming event.
- Slower recall. It can be visual or verbal. It can be an obstacle to quickly connecting the information in your memory with everyday occurrences, which causes daily life to be more challenging.
Long-Term Effects of Subjective Cognitive Decline
There is now some clinical evidence that distinguishes the effects of subjective cognitive decline from the typical symptoms of aging.
In some studies, subjective cognitive decline is considered an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s. That means that those individuals who experience subjective cognitive decline, especially at older ages, can be at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia in the future.
Even for those not at risk of Alzheimer’s, long-term struggles with subjective cognitive decline can make day-to-day life more challenging and, for some, less enjoyable. It can lead to increased feelings of depression or isolation, especially among older people. Difficult on their own, these added feelings may also contribute to further cognitive decline.
Top Three Groups Most at Risk for Subjective Cognitive Decline
Age and lifestyle each play a huge role in the onset and progression of cognitive decline. For this reason, subjective cognitive decline may impact almost anyone.
However, some factors make cognitive decline a particular risk for certain people. Connect with people in a similar age range to gain insights into the elevated risk of cognitive decline; it may be helpful to understand and anticipate your risk factors as you get older.
1. Older People
As is typical with regular signs of aging, memory problems and cognitive decline are common symptoms experienced by almost everyone as they get older. However, older adults in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and older may be at an even higher risk for subjective cognitive decline.
Multiple causation factors are at play, primarily the compounding effects of lifestyle choices on brain health over the entire course of our lives. Studies show that lifestyle factors like lack of exercise, a diet low in nutrients and high in toxins, lack of regular brain stimulation, and feelings of stress can all contribute to subjective cognitive decline.
For those living with these risk factors, the detrimental effects on memory and cognitive performance may compound over time, making older people more likely to experience symptoms of SCD as a result.
2. People with a Predisposition for or History of Memory Loss
As with diseases like Alzheimer’s, the symptoms of subjective cognitive decline may be more likely to affect those with a family history of cognitive impairment.
If you have an older relative facing dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other memory loss problems, you may be at higher risk for developing signs of subjective cognitive decline in the future.
Similarly, individuals living with some degree of cognitive impairment may be more likely to experience subjective cognitive decline at some point in their lives. For people living with impairment in areas like learning, memory, or decision making, there is an increased need for assistance that makes maintaining healthy, brain-focused lifestyle habits significantly more critical for brain health and cognitive function.
3. Younger People with Certain Lifestyle Risks
Although not commonly associated with symptoms like memory loss, younger people are most definitely at risk for subjective cognitive decline. The reason stems from the changing lifestyle habits of younger people, which may lead to a higher impact from factors like stress, lack of sleep, and dietary habits.
As young people also act as caretakers for adults with cognitive impairment—coupled with the rising rates of memory loss among younger individuals—this makes the threat of subjective cognitive decline greater than ever for young people.
Because of the rise of cognitive impairment, more millennials than ever are focused on optimizing their brainpower to remain competitive in a crowded job market. It has become essential to increase their protection from subjective cognitive decline as they age.
Six Steps to Combat Subjective Cognitive Decline
Subjective cognitive decline poses a real problem for people of all ages and could lead to significant loss of memory or cognitive function without the ideal protection.
Fortunately, there are some basic steps we can all take to help protect ourselves from subjective cognitive decline for both early age and adulthood.
1. Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
The health of your brain is deeply affected by the overall health of your body—which is why it is crucial to stick to a healthy mix of regular activities to ensure your brain is protected both today and tomorrow.
2. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is a pivotal part of any healthy lifestyle; since 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day is an effective way to help protect your brain and slow (or prevent) the onset of symptoms of subjective cognitive decline.
If you can’t go for vigorous exercises like running, consider low-impact exercise like yoga or Pilates to help keep the blood pumping to your brain. Not only will this help keep your brain active and healthy, but it may also support other healthy habits like good sleep patterns and keeping a positive mood.
3. Decrease Stress
Stress can also be a driving factor for symptoms of subjective cognitive decline, so it is influential to spend time to center your mind, de-stress, and find ways to remove anxiety from your daily life.
No matter how you go about it (by removing sources of stress or simply adding regular meditation to your daily routine), reducing stress is a great way to help keep your brain healthy and protect from subjective cognitive decline.
4. Get the Right Nutrients
Nutrition plays a vital role in brain health and making sure your body and mind get the nutrients they need to thrive. It is a crucial step in keeping your mind sharp and focused.
Keeping the right balance of nutrients helps support normal brain function by giving the brain the chemicals it needs to send signals and learn new information.
That means paying attention to the foods you eat and monitoring your diet to be balanced, with plenty of healthy options to help support and protect healthy brain function. It also means avoiding toxins found in things like preservatives and artificial colorings.
It may also mean changing the way you consume, since overeating food at the wrong time of day—say, just before bed—could negatively impact other important brain health factors. Consider your diet and what changes you might want to make to protect your brain from the symptoms of subjective cognitive decline.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Maintaining good sleep habits is one of the most valuable things you can do for your brain. Ensure you get the right amount of sleep every night, so your brain receives the rest it needs to perform crucial activities like forming long-term memories.
Your brain may not efficiently process new information or store long-term memories without the right balance of sleep every day. It can lead to worsening symptoms of subjective cognitive decline.
That’s why it is so essential to get a solid eight hours of sleep each night and to plan your sleep schedule for regular healthy sleep time with minimal interruptions. Spend time assessing your sleep patterns and consider altering your daily schedule and sleeping space to ensure you are getting the right level of sleep for your brain health.
6. Supplement Your Brain Protection
Even the best exercise, sleep, nutrition, and other healthy regimens may not always provide the right amount of protection for every brain.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to seek out additional protections to help support your brain chemistry and keep your mind protected from symptoms of subjective cognitive decline.
Consider integrating a healthy brain supplement as part of your typical brain protection process. NeuroQ is a remedy formulated to target brain health with vital nutrients for cognitive performance.
Regularly supporting your usual intake of nutrients with a brain-boosting supplement may be one of the best ways to provide that extra layer of protective help to your brain and could be pivotal to keeping subjective cognitive decline from impacting your overall brain health.
Don’t Let Subjective Cognitive Decline Impact the Best Years of Your Life
The signs of subjective cognitive decline might be on the rise, but it does not have to impact your life. It is never too early to start if you are looking for ways to keep your mind sharp and focused.
There are plenty of people of all ages who are taking steps to protect their brain health from subjective cognitive decline that are seeing the results with each passing day. It is never too late to start thinking about your brain health. It’s always the right time to protect yourself from subjective cognitive decline.
Take the time to understand your risk for subjective cognitive decline and start taking steps to protect your brain from symptoms early. It might just be one of the best decisions you make for your brain both today and in the years ahead.
Try NeuroQ for yourself and see just how much of a difference it makes in your life!