It is quite common to forget simple things like where you left your keys or why you went into a room. However, when this starts happening with some frequency, it is time to start considering whether you are losing your memory. Some memory loss is to be expected as we get older, but it should be gradual rather than have an acute onset. Understanding some of the most common causes of memory loss can help you know whether your forgetfulness might be pointing to something more serious that needs urgent medical care.
Substance Abuse and Self-medicating
Substances like cigarettes, alcohol, and others can have an adverse effect on our memories. Additionally, self-medicating with legitimate medications can also affect our memories. While you are supposed to take your medications as prescribed, using several types of medications at the same time can lead to serious issues. These issues are further compounded by the fact that some drugs interact and can lead to a toxic cocktail in the bloodstream, especially if you drink alcohol. When this happens, you might experience adverse effects that are much worse than memory loss.
Alcohol is also used for self-medicating in those who are stressed or depressed. This especially happens in cases where the person did not get any relief from the use of prescribed medications. In these instances, a psych referral or visit might be in order to determine why the person is stressed or depressed.
Many people discount or do not know the effects of poor sleep on our memory. An average adult is supposed to sleep for about 7-9 hours a day but many of us end up not sleeping for all these hours due to our busy lives and a variety of other factors. Studies now show that poor sleep caused by sleep disturbance, substance abuse, and other factors does lead to memory issues,
This is especially true for older people, especially older men, who sleep fewer hours as they get older. Additionally, older people are more prone to having sleep disturbances than younger people and this is another factor that exacerbates this issue.
There are several things one can do to have better sleep and to sleep for longer. These include following a proper sleep schedule, ensuring their bedroom is conducive for sleep, avoiding alcohol and coffee a few hours before sleep, calming the mind at night, and more.
Nutritional deficiencies have been proven to have adverse effects on our bodies, including our memories. Vitamin deficiency, especially vitamins C and D, has been shown to have an adverse effect on our cognitive abilities. Other vitamins that have the same effect include vitamin B12 and Folic Acid.
If a doctor determines that a vitamin deficiency is the cause of your memory issues, they will guide you on the best steps to take to eliminate the nutritional deficiency.
The most common age-related cause of memory loss is dementia. While dementia can present in many ways, it often manifests as the inability to remember large and smaller details alike, loss of problem-solving skills, and an inability to reason properly. Dementia can progress to a point where a loved one does not recognize people and turns violent due to the frustration and confusion of not knowing the people around them are.
While not everyone develops dementia, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias increases with age. Technology has advanced so far that it is now possible to detect dementia early but, unfortunately, there is no cure for it. It is also a degenerative disease meaning that it gets worse over time.
For seniors who may feel like they are losing their cognitive ability, seeing a doctor is always the best cause of action. For family members with loved ones diagnosed with dementia, it is always a great idea to start planning on how to take care of a loved one with dementia.
Most people are not equipped to deal with the physicial and emotional stress that comes with caring for a loved one with dementia. A great way to ensure loved ones with dementia receive the best care is to find the best senior care facilities near them. Facilities like Belmont Village provide senior care in Calabasas with memory care and a vibrant social environment at the top of their agenda.
Brain tumors can sometimes have the same symptoms as dementia. As the tumor cells grow in the brain, they kill off other cells, and this can lead to memory loss and symptoms similar to those of dementia. Because these tumors can appear in different parts of the rain, the symptoms will present differently to everyone. This is to say that you may have brain tumors and have mild to no memory loss.
Those who are on chemotherapy for brain tumors and cancer can also experience memory loss and dementia symptoms. It is, however, important to note that memory loss in those with a brain tumor or cancer and those undergoing chemotherapy might have other causes.
About a quarter of all people over the age of 65 in the United States have diabetes. There are thorough studies that show the relationship between hyper- and hypoglycemia and cognitive abilities. If you have diabetes and think that it might be the reason for your memory issues, it is always a good idea to see a doctor. They will check your glucose and give you an overall health review to see what else could be the cause of your memory issue.
The doctor might also prescribe new medication or make changes to your current medication and insulin to keep your diabetes under control. Keep in mind that you need to keep taking care of yourself to keep your diabetes in control because it can affect much more than your memory and cognitive abilities.
While some memory loss is to be expected as we age, we should all be on the lookout for factors that can lead to memory loss. Some of these factors are easy to control such as improving our sleep schedules and managing diabetes better while others need more intricate interventions. Do see a doctor if you have memory issues to find out the underlying cause and rectify it.
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