How Obesity Influences Brain Function

The Effects of Obesity on Brain Function

By Will Reid, 9:00 am on

It is well known that obesity can cause numerous medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and increased risk for stroke, but researchers are now finding that it can cause issues with brain function and cognitive performance as well. This effect may be even more pronounced in older adults who are already at risk for cognitive function impairments, and especially for seniors who require stroke or dementia care in Cincinnati.

Obesity Can Harm Brain Function

A team of scientists from several universities recently completed a study that examined the relationship between obesity, age, and brain function. They found that obese individuals of all ages had more difficulty paying attention, slower fine motor speed, and slower mental processing speed. Executive functions such as memory, mental flexibility, and self-control were strongly affected by BMI in older individuals, a connection that was not noted in younger people. Other medical conditions common among seniors further exacerbated these cognitive issues.

Implications for Seniors

The findings of this study suggest that obesity increases the risk for brain functioning problems as individuals age. This is believed to be due to the effect obesity has on the brain’s white matter, which is the part of the brain that transmits signals from one region to another. Because white matter integrity already decreases as a person ages, obesity can make these problems even more pronounced. This can make it more difficult for seniors to handle their affairs such as medical care or banking and increase their risk of falling for scams that seek to take advantage of their diminished mental capacity.

It is important for caregivers to stay alert to changes in their loved one’s brain function and assist in areas that seniors may no longer be capable of handling independently. Helping seniors maintain a healthy diet and control their weight can help promote brain health as well as stave off cognitive decline.

You can also help your loved one maintain a healthy diet and exercise with help from Home Care Assistance in Cincinnati. Our professional caregivers are specially trained to promote senior health and wellbeing by encouraging regular physical activity and preparing nutritious meals. Our services are flexible and our Care Managers are available 24/7 to answer your questions. Call us today at 513.891.2273 to learn more about how we can help your loved one achieve a higher quality of living.