Identifying Cognitive Impairments

“We can not solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.”
Albert Einstein

I am not a Doctor.  I am an expert in me…an expert of my body.  If I learned anything from the journey of losing and then regaining my cognitive abilities and memories, it is this…
My body is wiser than my words are available.
When I struggled to string together words to form coherent sentences, my body continued to communicate information through the five natural senses and what is identified as the Sixth sense.  It was through this communication with and through my body that I understood my mind was not working properly and eventually, what I needed to do in order to return to a healthy state.  I believe this wisdom is available to everyone, in and through their own body.  I recognized this wisdom as God, ever present and guiding me through the darkest days. While I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that I was not alone, I did not always feel that way. As a result, I decided to raise awareness and educate others on the issues surrounding brain health.

According to information provided by the CDC in “Cognitive Impairment: A Call to Action, Now!” There are now more than 10 million family members providing unpaid care to a person with cognitive impairment, a memory problem or a disorder like Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. As I type this, the numbers are growing and possibly includes you or someone you love. Nearly 16 million Americans are living with cognitive impairment.

What is cognitive impairment?
Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday
life. Cognitive impairment ranges from mild to severe. With mild impairment, people may begin to notice changes in cognitive functions, but still be able to do their everyday activities. Severe levels of impairment can lead to losing the ability to understand the meaning or importance of something and the ability to talk or write, resulting in the inability to live independently

What causes cognitive impairment?
Cognitive impairment is not caused by any one disease or condition, nor is it limited to a specific age group. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in addition to conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and developmental disabilities, can cause cognitive impairment.

What are some common signs of cognitive impairment?
• Memory loss.
• Frequently asking the same question or
repeating the same story over and over.
• Not recognizing familiar people and places.
• Having trouble exercising judgment, such as
knowing what to do in an emergency.
• Changes in mood or behavior.
• Vision problems.
• Difficulty planning and carrying out tasks,
such as following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills

Alzheimers, dementia, PTSD, and strokes are just a few neurological diseases and disorders that can affect cognition and memory. Some causes are well known, well funded and actively researched. Others may not be. Lesser known disorders or side effects from medications may not receive much attention and therefore struggle to gain awareness. Thus education may seem limited leading to the perception that treatment and prevention are all but impossible.

I hope to shift thinking.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the above symptoms, please contact a medical professional and know that you are not alone.