If you don’t watch your weight, you can lose your memory


According to the latest studies, being obese can alter your memory since in the long run it increases the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. The good news is that you have time to protect yourself.

The obesity is no longer an aesthetic problem to go to become a serious disorder that impairs the quality of life of patients. Heart problems, diabetes, sleep apnea or hypertension are some of the common disorders associated with this disease that you probably already knew about. What we may not be so aware of is its relationship to memory loss. 

More than 6% of Spaniards over 60 years of age suffer from some degree of dementia. “Every day the population is getting older and although the causes for cognitive deterioration and dementia , healthy lifestyle habits and physical exercise to avoid obesity are still unknown , it can have a protective effect against obesity. risk of its development, “says Dr. Nuria Vilarrasa, coordinator of the Obesity area of ​​the SEEN. 

For this reason, in recent years the relationship of obesity with an increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia has been studied. Hence, recently, the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition (SEEN) together with the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (SEEDO) have developed the campaign ‘Take care of your weight, take care of your memory’ in order to raise awareness even more society of the importance of fighting those extra kilos and leading healthy lifestyle habits.

Be careful with abdominal fat

Not only is weight control important, the distribution of body fat also matters. “There are data that suggest that the predominance of abdominal fat is a factor that predisposes in the long run to suffer cognitive deterioration and dementia,” says Dr. Purificación Martínez de Icaya, representative of SEEDO.

flat stomach

The abdominal fat can produce insulin resistance, a hormone produced by the pancreas that metabolizes sugar receive food. If insulin doesn’t work properly, blood glucose levels rise. This insulin resistance has also been associated with higher levels of beta-amyloid, a substance directly involved in the development of some types of dementia. 

In addition, cardiovascular problems associated with obesity are factors that also negatively influence cerebral blood flow and, therefore, also contribute to cognitive decline. 

If you take care of yourself, you reduce the risk of dementia 

Fortunately, it is not all bad news. “It has been observed that the risk of dementia decreases with regular physical exercise. Physical activity, in addition to having beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors, could improve neuronal synthesis,” says Dr. Vilarrasa, who has participated in the development of a decalogue to control weight : 

  1. Control the size of your servings. Eat in moderation.
  2. Stay active. Walk at least 30 minutes a day.
  3. Eat fruits and vegetables every day (5 servings / day).
  4. Limit fast food, precooked food, and the consumption of fried and battered foods. 
  5. Eat slowly and avoid doing it in front of the television or computer.
  6. To hydrate yourself, drink water. Avoid tobacco.
  7. Moderate your intake of sugar, sweet foods, and sugary drinks. 
  8. Keep your mind active through reading, intellectual games (chess, crosswords, puzzles, sudokus, etc.) learn to play a musical instrument, learn another language. 
  9. Get enough night’s rest. 
  10. If you need help, consult your doctor and specialized healthcare professional. 

If all else fails, there are alternatives that can effectively treat overweight and obesity. “We have drugs that can help us lose weight together with diet and, in case of poor response to the previous strategies, bariatric surgery could be considered in certain cases”, concludes Dr. Irene Bretón, president of SEEN

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