You don’t have to have severe inflammation for it to affect your memory.
What is called low grade inflammation will increase certain inflammatory markers which have shown to be good indicators of how well we will perform when it comes to cognition and memory related tasks.
Endothelial dysfunction which means dysfunction of the inner lining of the blood vessel wall, and low grade inflammation show a connection between vascular risk factors and cognitive function (Heringa SM, et.al., 2014).
In addition, individuals with increased inflammation, as measured with CRP one of the inflammatory markers, were found to have decreased recognition memory and decreased volume of a certain area of the brain (Bettcher BM, et.al., 2012).
Moreover, specific inflammatory markers are associated with mild cognitive impairment. These markers also show how systemic inflammation impacts cognition (Trollor JN, et.al., 2010). That being said, systemic inflammation is the type of inflammation that is present in the whole body. This is different from having a swollen inflamed joint. Most people don’t even know they have a problem with this type of inflammation. However, it is very common.
Hs-CRP is an inflammatory marker which is recognized as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. But, it has also shown to be associated with decreased executive function like planning and carrying out tasks (Wersching H, e.al., 2010).
Furthermore, measurements of hs-CRP has even predicted poorer memory in women 12 years later (Komulainen P, et.al., 2007).
Hs-CRP is a very inexpensive blood test which will help you determine if you have increased low grade inflammation. You can also determine if you are at increased risk for memory impairment later in life. If the hs-CRP is increased, then it can also mean that you have increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Next time you have a checkup at your doctor, I would recommend that you have it tested.
I suggest that you implement strategies to keep your inflammation low. This is mainly because inflammation will increase your risk for all chronic diseases.
In, conclusion, a healthy lifestyle and especially a low glycemic index, high nutrient, plant based diet would be very beneficial for you.
Heringa, S. M., Van den Berg, E., Reijmer, Y. D., Nijpels, G., Stehouwer, C. D. A., Schalkwijk, C. G., … & Dekker, J. M. (2014). Markers of low-grade inflammation and endothelial dysfunction are related to reduced information processing speed and executive functioning in an older population–the Hoorn Study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 40, 108-118.
Bettcher, B. M., Wilheim, R., Rigby, T., Green, R., Miller, J. W., Racine, C. A., … & Kramer, J. H. (2012). C-reactive protein is related to memory and medial temporal brain volume in older adults. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 26(1), 103-108.
Wersching, H., Duning, T., Lohmann, H., Mohammadi, S., Stehling, C., Fobker, M., … & Deppe, M. (2010). Serum C-reactive protein is linked to cerebral microstructural integrity and cognitive function. Neurology, 74(13), 1022-1029.
Komulainen, P., Lakka, T. A., Kivipelto, M., Hassinen, M., Penttilä, I. M., Helkala, E. L., … & Rauramaa, R. (2007). Serum high sensitivity C-reactive protein and cognitive function in elderly women. Age and Ageing, 36(4), 443-448.
Trollor, J. N., Smith, E., Baune, B. T., Kochan, N. A., Campbell, L., Samaras, K., … & Sachdev, P. (2010). Systemic inflammation is associated with MCI and its subtypes: the Sydney Memory and Aging Study. Dementia and geriatric cognitive disorders, 30(6), 569-578.