Memory Loss Related To Medical Conditions
Of course, its also possible that your parent is experiencing memory problems from something entirely different from dementia or age-related memory loss. There are several medical conditions that could be causing their recent fogginess.
According to the University of Michigan, these are some of the health conditions that can cause memory loss in older adults:
- Infections, such as a urinary tract infection, respiratory infection, or sepsis.
- Asthma or COPD.
- Mental health problems, such as depression.
- Thyroid problems.
- Prescription medication side effects.
This is why its so important to encourage your parent to speak with their doctor if you notice them displaying memory loss. It could be dementia, in which case youll be able to form a plan with your parent for future care, or it could be a health condition that needs to be properly treated.
What Are Some Other Reasons For Forgetfulness
There are other reasons for becoming more forgetful. Most of these are temporary and can be treated.
- Certain medications or a combination of medications can cause forgetfulness or confusion.
- A head injury from a fall or accident can cause memory problems, even if you don’t lose consciousness.
- Stress, anxiety or depression can cause forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating and other problems that disrupt daily activities.
- Chronic alcoholism can seriously impair mental abilities. Alcohol can also cause memory loss by interacting with medications.
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency can be common in older adults can cause memory problems. Vitamin B-12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells.
- An underactive thyroid gland can result in forgetfulness and other thinking problems.
- A tumour or infection in your brain can cause memory problems or other dementia-like symptoms.
Can Dementia Be Prevented
No known way to prevent irreversible dementia or even many types of reversible dementia exists. The following may help prevent certain types of dementia:
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, moderate use of alcohol, and no smoking or substance abuse
- Taking precautions to prevent infections
- Using protective equipment such as a seat belt or motorcycle helmet to prevent head injury
The following may allow early treatment and at least partial reversal of dementia:
- Being alert for symptoms and signs that suggest dementia
- Early recognition of underlying medical conditions, such as hypoxia, HIV infection, low glucose levels, or low sodium levels
You May Like: Are Jigsaw Puzzles Good For Dementia
Lifestyle Causes Of Short
The causes of short-term memory loss are not always medical.
Often an unhealthy lifestyle is to blame.
This means that by simply making healthier choices, you can stop and even reverse memory loss and other signs of mental decline.
For example, even something as simple as being chronically dehydrated can impact your short-term memory.
Fortunately, due to a property called neuroplasticity, your brain has the capability to grow, change, and improve throughout your lifetime.
So no matter how bad your memory is now, you can halt its decline and even improve your memory provided you start doing the right things.
While all lifestyle factors affect your general brain function to some degree, three of the worst offenders that are specifically harmful to short-term memory are lack of sleep, stress, and sugar.
Symptoms Specific To Frontotemporal Dementia
Although Alzheimer’s disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people. Most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.
Early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may include:
- personality changes reduced sensitivity to others’ feelings, making people seem cold and unfeeling
- lack of social awareness making inappropriate jokes or showing a lack of tact, though some people may become very withdrawn and apathetic
- language problems difficulty finding the right words or understanding them
- becoming obsessive such as developing fads for unusual foods, overeating and drinking
Read more about frontotemporal dementia.
You May Like: Do Sleeping Pills Cause Dementia
What Is The Treatment For Possible Early Dementia
No treatment is known to stop or slow down memory loss in MCI. Medications used in Alzheimer’s disease and some other kinds of dementia may help in MCI, but this has not been proven. One area of ongoing research is whether people with MCI do better without treatmentkeeping in mind that medication can sometimes make cognitive symptoms worse. It is important that people with MCI be checked regularly to see if their condition has changed.
People with MCI should remain physically, socially, and mentally active to the greatest extent possible. Physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, promotes relaxation and healthy sleep, and lifts the mood. A daily walk is appropriate for many people with MCI. Social interaction also fosters a positive mood and helps prevent depression. Many senior centers offer activities that promote social interaction. Mentally challenging activities, such as crossword puzzles and “brain teasers,” may be helpful in holding off mental deterioration, but this has not been proven.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Are Early Signs Of Dementia Obvious
Changes in a person in the early stages of dementia can be so gradual they can often be mistaken for normal ageing. Because dementia affects people in different ways, symptoms may not always be obvious. In fact, failure to recognise early signs often leads to people not being diagnosed for several years.
So what to look for? Perhaps someone you care for is struggling to remember what they did yesterday and forgets the names of friends or everyday objects. They may have difficulty following conversations or TV programmes, repeat things over and over, or have problems thinking or reasoning. They may feel angry, anxious or depressed about memory loss or feel confused even in a familiar environment.
The healthtalk website presents a range of carers experiences of identifying the early signs of dementia. One carer put it this way.
The first stage is not recognisable I think, or certainly wasnt recognisable as far as I was concerned initially . I was certainly not understanding… the fact that my wife was at the beginning of a serious problem, a serious mental health problem. Because I was with my wife continuously, I think I was less likely to recognise some of the changes that were taking place than people who saw her less regularly.
Don’t Miss: Does Smelling Farts Help Prevent Dementia
Causes Of Short Term Memory Loss
The causes of short term memory loss can be quite varied, ranging from neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimers disease, side effects of certain medications, to brain injuries such as stroke or concussion. See this list of memory loss causes for more detail.
Want to test your short term memory performance? Try this memory test challenge.
Concerned about the possibility of memory loss symptoms in someone close to you? Use the Memory Loss Checklist, a free tool for family, friends, and caregivers.
Common Early Symptoms Of Dementia
Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.
However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:
- memory loss
- difficulty concentrating
- finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
- struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
- being confused about time and place
- mood changes
These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. It’s often termed “mild cognitive impairment” as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.
You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for some time. In some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not worsen. But some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia.
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it’s important to talk to a GP sooner rather than later if you’re worried about memory problems or other symptoms.
You May Like: Alzheimer’s Disease Ribbon Color
Other Causes Of Short
It’s normal to be concerned if you experience occasional memory lapses, but you can rest reassured that not all short-term memory problems are a sign of Alzheimer’s. In fact, there’s a wide variety of reasons you might experience short-term memory impairment, many of which are temporary or easily treatable.
- Acute grief
- Conditions in the brain
- Certain diseases of the thyroid, kidney, or liver
- Medications, among them the antidepressant Paxil and the heartburn drug Tagamet
- Drinking too much alcohol
When To Visit The Doctor For Memory Loss
If you, a family member, or friend has problems remembering recent events or thinking clearly, talk with a doctor. He or she may suggest a thorough checkup to see what might be causing the symptoms. You may also wish to talk with your doctor about opportunities to participate in research on cognitive health and aging.
At your doctor visit, he or she can perform tests and assessments, which may include a brain scan, to help determine the source of memory problems. Your doctor may also recommend you see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the brain and nervous system.
Memory and other thinking problems have many possible causes, including depression, an infection, or medication side effects. Sometimes, the problem can be treated, and cognition improves. Other times, the problem is a brain disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which cannot be reversed.
Finding the cause of the problems is important for determining the best course of action. Once you know the cause, you can make the right treatment plan. People with memory problems should make a follow-up appointment to check their memory every six to 12 months. They can ask a family member, friend, or the doctor’s office to remind them if they’re worried they’ll forget.
Also Check: Andrea Mitchell Drunk
How Sugar Accelerates Short
Your brain needs a steady supply of glucose, its main fuel.
The key word here is steady.
But the simple carbs found in the types of sugar and flour commonly used in processed foods can push blood glucose levels into an unhealthy range.
This adversely affects short-term memory.
Sugar also increases free radical damage and promotes inflammation of the brain.
It can even change your brainwave patterns, making it hard to think clearly.
Consuming too many simple carbohydrates can even cause insulin resistance in the brain.
This type of insulin resistance has been linked to Alzheimers disease.
What’s The Difference: Age
Has your parent ever called you by the wrong name on accident?
If you have siblings, you most likely answered yes to that question, as Dad ran through the whole roster before settling on the right one.
A minor mistake when were children, being called the wrong name by our parent becomes much more troubling the older we get. You start to wonderis it a slip of the tongue or an indication of something more serious?
Many adult children struggle with determining whether their senior parents memory loss is a normal part of aging or a sign of dementia. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning and behavioral abilities to the point that it interferes with a person’s daily life. In other words, its more than the usual memory loss thats to be expected as we age.
One important thing to notedementia is different from Alzheimers disease. Dementia is not a disease rather, its a group of symptoms that affect memory and cognitive ability. It can be a symptom of Alzheimers, but it can also be a result of something else.
Heres how to tell the difference between normal memory loss and dementia, and what to do if youre concerned about Mom or Dad.
You May Like: Is Dementia Related To Alzheimer’s
Their Overall Behavior Has Shifted
- They show signs of decreased judgment and difficulty in decision-making, which could lead to impulsive or irresponsible choices.
- They withdraw socially, which could involve difficulty with conversation and forgetfulness. This might cause a person to feel overwhelmed by hobbies, work, or social activities they once enjoyed.
- They show changes in mood or personality, suddenly feeling confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious, becoming easily upset, and possibly leading to personality changes that are out of character.
Since dementia is progressive, its symptoms worsen over time. In its early stages, Alzheimers disease typically affects short-term memory. However, as the disease progresses, people gradually experience morelong-term memory loss, or amnesia.
Changes In Behaviour Judgement And Moods
Becoming quiet, withdrawn or restless or frustrated or angry can be early signs of dementia. Someone may develop repetitive behaviour for example, they ask the same question over and over again, do the same thing repeatedly or make multiple phone calls to the same person. They may become insecure and anxious or start hiding and losing items. They may withdraw from social activities or give up hobbies and interests they have enjoyed.
They may show poor judgement, for example putting summer clothes on in cold winter months, not knowing when a kettle is full or overfilling cups when making cold and hot drinks, putting a kettle on the hob or leaving a cooker on or tap running. Someone with dementia may become very emotional and experience rapid mood swings or become quieter and less emotional than usual.
Don’t Miss: Shampoos Cause Alzheimer’s
Stage : Moderate Dementia
Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.
While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.
What Does Memory Loss Look Like In A Person With Dementia
Memory loss can be a symptom of any type of dementia. For people with Alzheimers disease, it is often among the very first signs.
Memory can be affected in different ways. These include:
- not being able to create new memories this means that recent events are not recorded in the persons memory and so cannot be recalled later. For example, the person may forget a conversation they have just had.
- taking longer to retrieve information this means that, even though the person is still able to recall things, this takes them much longer or they might need a prompt. For example, they might need more time to find the name for an object.
- not being able to retrieve information this means that, even though the person may be able to create new memories, they are not able to access them when needed.
For example, they may get lost in familiar surroundings or on journeys they have taken many times.
In the same way, people with dementia may still be able to remember things that they have repeated many times in their life, such as a route to school. This also includes skills that involved a lot of practice, like playing a musical instrument or driving.
This emotional memory can be triggered by senses, such as hearing a certain piece of music or smelling a certain fragrance.
Recommended Reading: Neil Diamond Alzheimer’s
What Is Short Term Memory Loss
Our brains use short-term memory to store small amounts of information that we just took in. Short-term memory loss means we might struggle to remember recent information, such as what we saw, heard, planned, or experienced in our present lives.
You might notice someone experience this when they ask for the same information repeatedly, misplace things, forget recent events, or forget something they learned recently.
Almost 40 percent of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. Normal age-associated memory impairment is possible without any serious health concerns or affects a persons daily life.
Significant memory loss, however, should not be considered an inevitable result of aging, but instead could be a warning sign that treatment is needed.
Do You Lose Track Of The Time Date Or Season
Once in a while, we all forget what day of the week it is, but we usually remember or figure it out quickly. More troubling: not knowing what day it is, the time of day or how much time is passingand not realizing that youve forgotten. Additionally, unable to remember appointments or even missing them despite putting it on the calendar or having received numerous reminders by family. These may be signs of dementia, according to Johns Hopkins experts.
Don’t Miss: Did Reagan Have Alzheimer’s In Office
Compensating For Memory Loss
The same practices that contribute to healthy aging and physical vitality also contribute to a healthy memory. So, by taking steps early to prevent cognitive decline, youll also be improving all other aspects of your life as well.
Stay social. People who arent socially engaged with family and friends are at higher risk for memory problems than people who have strong social ties. Quality face-to-face social interaction can greatly reduce stress and is powerful medicine for the brain, so schedule time with friends, join a book club, or visit the local senior center. And be sure to put your phone away and focus fully on the people youre with if you want the full brain benefit.
Stop smoking. Smoking heightens the risk of vascular disorders that can cause stroke and constrict arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain. When you quit smoking, the brain quickly benefits from improved circulation.
Manage stress. Cortisol, the stress hormone, damages the brain over time and can lead to memory problems. But even before that happens, stress or anxiety can cause memory difficulties in the moment. When youre stressed out or anxious, youre more likely to suffer memory lapses and have trouble learning or concentrating. But simple stress management techniques can minimize these harmful effects.
Walking: An easy way to fight memory loss