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What You Need To Know About Medications And Cognition In Midlife

Lisa King September 2023

Women’s Health Kuel Thought Leader: Lisa King, Rph

Are you worried about cognition?

Studies indicate that women have a 71% risk of experiencing cognitive impairment before the end of life. The subjective definition of cognitive decline is the experience of worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss. 

A Worry For Women In Midlife:

It is often a worry for women in midlife as estrogen is considered to act as a neuro-protector and can benefit cognitive function. 

There are many lifestyle habits that can be helpful in promoting healthy brain function:

  • Including certain supplements in your daily routine.

“Vitamin D can also help to maintain brain function.”

 Basic supplements that can be helpful with optimal health and brain health include: 

Omega 3 fatty acids to help with learning, cognitive function and blood flow to the brain. Vitamin D can also help to maintain brain function. Studies also show that B vitamins can reduce homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that at higher levels can facilitate a buildup of amyloid proteins in the brain that can lead to degenerative changes. 

  • Reducing sugar in the diet to reduce inflammation is important.

A Mediterranean-style diet high in Omega three’s that includes salmon, nuts and seeds is a fantastic way to ensure you are eating for a healthy brain!

  • Taking time to rest and also time to learn new things are brain-boosting habits as well. 

Medications Affecting Your Cognition:

If you are following a healthy lifestyle and still concerned about cognitive changes, you may want to consider how your medications may be affecting your cognition too. 

“Elevated cortisol levels can be associated with poorer overall cognitive function.”

Medications can also be a trigger for decreased cognitive function and include:

  • Anti-Cholinergic Agents.

One of the top classes of drugs causing cognitive decline are anticholinergic agents. These medications also cause dry mouth and constipation.  They can include certain antihistamines, over-the-counter sleep aids, some antidepressants and medications for over-active bladder. 

  • Pain And Sleep Meds.

Medications that cause drowsiness such as pain medications, sleep sedatives and anti-anxiety medications can cause confusion especially as we age. If you are experiencing drowsiness from a medication it may be mimicking symptoms of cognitive decline. 

  • Elevated Cortisol Levels.

Elevated cortisol levels can be associated with poorer overall cognitive function. Corticosteroids such as prednisone have been associated both long and short term with declarative or verbal memory deficits.

  • Proton Pump Inhibitors.

Studies also indicate that long term use of PPI’s (Proton Pump Inhibitors) to treat acid reflux have been linked to a 33% higher risk of dementia. 

Are You Experiencing Cognitive Decline?

While taking these medications does not mean that you will inevitably experience cognitive decline, it is important to be aware of medications if you are experiencing symptoms. Discuss alternatives with your physician and also be sure to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes in order to prevent disease. 

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Lisa King

About the Author:

Lisa King Rph, is a pharmacist of over 30 years. She is also a life coach and Amazon Best Selling Author. She is passionate about health and well-being with an emphasis on bladder health. Through her gentle approach to optimal wellness, she shares tiny changes that lead to big results in a healthier lifestyle. You can find Lisa @thefulfilledpharmacist on Facebook or Instagram or through her website ditchbladderpain.com