Not All Memory Problems are Caused by Alzheimer’s

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Not All Memory Problems are Caused by Alzheimer’s

Being chronically lacking in sleep can have an effect on memory and learning/ Photo By mangostar via 123RF

 

Many people think that becoming forgetful means that it is a sign of Alzheimer's disease. However, not everyone who easily forgets has Alzheimer's. There are also other causes of memory loss. Sometimes, it can be attributed to a medical condition, aging, emotional problems, or another form of dementia. 

Some memory-loss conditions can also be short-term and reversible.

What causes us to forget? Below are some of the reasons why there are times that our memory fails us. 

 

Medical Conditions That May Cause Memory Loss

There are medical conditions that can cause memory problems. These are just temporary and may go away once the person is treated. Here are some of them that can affect a person's memory retention. 

Age-Related Forgetfulness
Being forgetful can be a normal process when a person gets older. There are a lot of changes that happen in the entire body including the brain. Sometimes people might take longer to learn new things or if they do, they easily forget them. Older people may start to forget where they put their keys or their glasses. This is just mild forgetfulness and not anything like Alzheimer's disease. 

Not enough sleep 
Getting a good night's sleep is important. It will reduce your chances of gaining weight, give you more energy, and let you think more clearly. Being chronically lacking in sleep can have an effect on memory and learning. So it is important to practice good sleep habits. 

Head injuries
Head injuries can cause short-term memory problems. However, according to research, head injuries can also increase a person's risk of developing dementia later on in life. To prevent head injuries, it is important to wear protective headgear such as helmets. If you are in a car, don't forget to wear your seatbelt as this can help a lot during vehicular accidents. If ever you have sustained a head injury, make sure your wound is fully healed before resuming regular activities. For any headaches and comprehension problems after head trauma, make sure to waste no time informing your healthcare provider. 

Thyroid condition
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause memory loss and sometimes mental fog. If you are feeling that you are having difficulty in remembering things, tell your doctor about it. Have a thyroid panel to check your thyroid functioning.  Treating thyroid conditions can help you improve your memory and concentration. 

Kidney problems
During renal failure, waste products are accumulated in the body and this can affect one's brain functions. Those who have protein in the urine are highly likely to have memory problems. 

Head injuries can also increase a person's risk of developing dementia later on in life/ Photo By Aleksandr Davydov via 123RF

 

Liver diseases
Liver disorders like hepatitis may cause toxins to be released to the bloodstream and this can affect the brain. Serious liver problems may result in hepatic encephalopathy. If you have liver function problems and are having memory and thinking problems, be sure to have this diagnosed and treated. 

Pregnancy
There are several changes in the body during pregnancy. The hormones and chemicals can make a woman become forgetful. However, this is just temporary. 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Among older people, pernicious anemia is presented with the symptoms of confusion, slowness, and apathy. Low levels of vitamin B12 can be a cause of memory loss. 

Alcoholism
The Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is an irreversible state of confusion among alcoholics. This is due to thiamine deficiency caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. 

Delirium
Delirium can cause changes in mental capacity and may resemble dementia. This is a medical emergency that must be addressed immediately.

Emotional Issues That May Cause Forgetfulness

The mind and the body are connected and what one feels, the other can also feel it. Below are some emotional causes of memory loss. 

Stress
When there is a high level of stress, it can overload the mind and cause a distraction. Too much stress can also affect one's memory and constant stress can increase your risk for dementia. It is important to learn how to manage stress. 

Anxiety
Have you ever encountered having a mental blackout when taking a test because of anxiety? Some people forget simple and easy things because they are very anxious. If you have a generalized anxiety disorder, this can affect your memory. Hence, it is important to treat anxiety to improve memory and quality of life. 

Depression
When people are depressed, they can sometimes exhibit symptoms similar to dementia. For example, a depressed person can be forgetful and disoriented. 

 

Medications That May Cause Memory Loss

Illegal drugs that are being abused can affect one's cognitive function, memory loss included. 

There are also instances when prescription medications have an adverse effect on the patient where there is memory impairment. If you are going to be taking different drugs from different healthcare providers, make sure that they have a list of your drugs for reference. This way, they can prescribe medications that will not affect or give you memory loss. 

If you think that your memory loss has worsened, make an appointment with your physician for an assessment. 

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