A modest decline in thinking skills with memory problems may be termed a common part of the aging process. However, there is a difference between the type of memory loss which points to Alzheimer’s and memory changes which can be considered normal. Also, there are a few memory problems brought on by treatable conditions. However, whatever the reason, individuals who are experiencing memory problems are strongly advised to talk to their medical practitioner about it.
Aging and Memory Loss
It is important to know that memory loss associated with aging does not hinder you from leading a productive and normal life. This means that though you may forget things like someone’s name, you will be able to remember it later. This can also include having to resort to a compilation of lists for keeping track of tasks, appointments or things more often than you did in the past. However, the thing to watch out for is that changes which are part of aging do not interfere with the individual’s ability to lead a normal life.
Memory Loss Related To Dementia
Dementia is a medical term used to refer to a set of symptoms, including impairment in thinking skills, judgment, reasoning and memory. The onset of dementia is gradual which worsens over time and seriously impairs the individual’s ability to maintain relationships and hold down a job.
Early Signs of Dementia
The early signs of dementia, apart from memory loss, include:
- An inability to follow directions
- Going through sudden changes in behavior and mood without any apparent reason
- Feeling lost when driving or walking through familiar locations
- Taking longer than usual for performing familiar tasks
- Not being able to remember familiar and common words when speaking
- Misplacing items constantly
- Mixing words up
- Asking the same question over and over
These signs can alert you to the possibility of dementia and in case you or your loved one is showing one or more of these signs, it should rule out the possibility that memory loss is associated with aging.
Other Diseases That May Lead To Memory Loss
Diseases, like Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s are among the diseases which result in the brain sustaining progressive damage and dementia. All of these diseases have different pathology and may not always be characterized by memory impairment as the first signs. Moreover, the type of memory problems could vary from disease to disease.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
This is characterized by noticeable changes in an individual’s thinking skills which can be termed as to a narrow set of problems such as memory impairment. Others symptoms may also include changes in mental quickness, attention and concentration. However, this may not interfere with the ability to carry out social and daily activities of life. Researchers are on their way to learn more about mild cognitive impairment which for many individuals progresses to Alzheimer’s while others experience insignificant progression into memory loss which will not progress into symptoms associated with dementia.
Memory Loss: Reversible Causes
Memory loss can also be caused by other medical problems which trigger dementia-like symptoms. However, the good thing is it this can be reversed through treatment. The possible causes of reversible memory loss include:
Brain tumors can cause memory related issues, quite similar to dementia.
Deficiency of Vitamin B-12
Deficiency of Vitamin B-12 in adults can also lead to memory problems as it is a vital nutrient for the maintenance of healthy red blood cells and nerve cells.
Chronic alcoholism also impairs people’s mental abilities and could lead to memory loss as it interferes with medication.
Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders, like depression, can also cause difficulty in concentrating, confusion and forgetfulness which might disrupt the daily activities of individuals.
Certain medicines can also confusion or forgetfulness in individuals.
Injury and Minor Head Trauma
Injury following an accident or a fall can also lead to memory problems, including injuries which do not result in loss of consciousness.
Not all memory loss can therefore be termed as Alzheimer’s. It could also be related to certain other problems like aging, mild cognitive impairment and other reversible causes. However, individuals who are experiencing memory loss should contact their doctors immediately for prompt diagnosis and treatment.