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The facts about senior men and memory loss

Apr 18, 2012, 11:12 a.m.

As people get older, they often face some level of memory loss. While there are various causes for memory loss, it appears that men are more likely than women to face this challenging condition. The typical case is minor and known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

MCI often appears prior to the onset of dementia. But don't worry! Fortunately, there remains no direct link, so those encountering "senior moments," with difficulty remembering recent events or retaining new information, may or may not face full-blown dementia. However, it does appear that those exhibiting MCI are at greater risk of developing dementia.

The causes for memory loss include similar issues related to heart disease, including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Those seeking help for memory loss, however, are still perplexed as to why senior men seem to develop MCI more often than women.

The answer may be more simple than esoteric. It appears that men develop MCI earlier than women. Developing memory loss later may hasten a woman's progression to dementia, resulting in medical professionals missing the causes of memory loss that they identify in men.

Unfortunately, there is little encouraging news for those men exhibiting MCI. Help for memory loss is non-existent and there are no treatments for it once it begins. Currently, the only preventative "treatment" may be to reduce obesity conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, earlier in life. Of course staying active and having a productive routine can also improve cognitive states.

The relationship of MCI, dementia and Alzheimer's disease is clear. While women have a greater propensity of suffering from Alzheimer's, these statistics may result from women typically living longer. The causes for memory loss in men, therefore, remain unclear. If the medical community can identify the conversion from normal aging to MCI to dementia, healthcare professionals could possibly offer effective help with memory loss in the future.

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