When you’ve lost your spouse… when your better half is gone… there’s a wound left behind that’ll never truly heal.
But there’s also something else that can linger after loss.
And it’s something EVERY senior needs to watch for…
Because this newly exposed risk can turn your life from one of sorrow into a living nightmare.
It can lead directly to cognitive decline… dementia… and Alzheimer’s disease.
But today, I’m going to share the SECRET to turning that risk around.
Protect your brain after the ultimate loss
There’s a lot of research on the death risk after a significant loss. It even has a name, broken-heart syndrome, aka when people die in the weeks or months after the death of a loved one.
Screen icon Debbie Reynolds died of stroke just one day after losing her daughter, Carrie Fisher. And country music legend Johnny Cash went just four months after losing his wife of 35 years, June Carter Cash.
But the new study goes much further, showing the long-term risks of widowhood on the brain.
Compared to married folks and never-married folks, widows and widowers have:
• WORSE cognitive performance; and
• HIGHER levels of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.
Beta-amyloid plaques are the junk proteins that can build up in the brain as we get older. The more you have, the higher your risk of slipping into decline.
But not everyone has the same risk.
In the study, widows with higher levels of those plaques suffered from cognitive decline THREE TIMES faster than married people with those same higher levels of beta-amyloid.
It’s not just the beta amyloid alone that’s doing it, since they had the same levels…
The loss itself is clearly the difference-maker.
They’re not sure why loss has this kind of direct effect on the brain.
But I can take a guess.
First, loss and grief cause inflammation, which plays a key role in cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. A 2018 study even called inflammation a “central mechanism” to Alzheimer’s disease.
And second, studies show older folks who keep engaged with others stay sharper for longer – and are much less likely to slip into cognitive decline.
When you lose your spouse, you’re often losing that person who kept you engaged – a constant companion and conversation partner.
Making matters worse, many people withdraw after suffering a loss. They spend a lot of time alone… not engaged with anyone or anything.
I know you can’t just “get over” losing your better half…
But make an effort to care for yourself after that loss so that you don’t suffer this damage.
No medication can fill that void. But if you turn to your loved ones – friends and family – and seek comfort in your faith, you can fend off the damage, block this disease, and preserve your quality of life.