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Stress Can Impact Our Memory And Cognitive Skills

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Stress is a major health issue despite the opinions of most people. It can affect your mental as well as physical health. Recent studies have now found severe stress may affect memory. There are a number of factors that cause it, but one of the biggest factors of stress may be something out of our control.

Cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands, is known as the “stress hormone.” By definition, it “can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist with forming new memories.

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Stress from outside sources is typically easy to handle, requiring sometimes simple habit or diet changes. A more serious cause of stress is abnormal levels of Cortisol in the body. Just like anything in the world, too much of it can be a bad thing.

Justin B. Echouffo-Tcheugui, of Harvard Medical Scool, knows why the study published in Neurology on October 24th is so important: “Cortisol affects many different functions, so it is important to fully investigate how high levels of the hormone may affect the brain.”
He goes on to add “While other studies have examined cortisol and memory, we believe our large, community-based study is the first to explore, in middle-aged people, fasting blood cortisol levels and brain volume, as well as memory and thinking skills.”

The study found that men and women in their 40s and 50s with high levels of cortisol suffered memory loss and brain shrinkage. It suggests that those with busy lives always talking about being “forgetful” are not at all doing it on purpose.

It’s scary to think that too much cortisol is enough to shrink your grey matter.

If you are living a stressful life, it might be time for something to change. Not only will it affect memory and brain size, but evidence has also shown too much stress to shorten an individual’s lifespan by a few years.

Reducing stress is not easy, and if necessary, ask your healthcare provider for advice on how to reduce the stress in your life.

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