Although forgetfulness can be a normal element of aging, this isn't the case for everyone. Aging doesn't equal memory loss and it's important to recognize which memory problems are serious.
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Changes occur in all parts of the body including the brain as we age. This can lead to issues such as taking longer to learn new things, forgetting information and losing items such as glasses, keys, etc. Such forgetfulness is mild and not usually cause for concern. With time and practice, healthy older adults can actually improve their mental abilities, but not all choose to do so.
Memory Loss Causes
Memory loss due to certain health issues can be treated and possibly reversed with therapy. Sometimes medications or a B12 deficiency can cause memory loss. Emotional issues including anxiety, stress or depression can lead to forgetfulness that some mistake for Dementia. However, memory loss due to emotional distress should be temporary and treatable with time.
Other more serious issues that result in memory loss include:
Brain tumors or infections
Blood clots in brain
Any such serious medical conditions require prompt treatment from a medical professional.
Diagnosing Serious Memory Loss
Memory loss can be a sign of a more serious problem such as Dementia or other cognitive impairment. A thorough medical evaluation conducted by a neurologist can help determine the cause of serious memory loss. The input from family and friends is also essential to diagnosing the possible contributing factors.
Sometimes a person's memory problems are the result of amnestic MCI, or amnestic mild cognitive impairment. This condition causes memory issues worse than in normal people, but the symptoms aren't as severe as those seen from Alzheimer's disease. When a person suffers from memory lapses, losing things frequently, forgetting events and struggling for words, they may have MCI. It cannot be definitively said whether MCI and Alzheimer's are related.
Dementia is a group of symptoms caused by specific conditions and diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Dementia is not a disease itself but a term for a loss of memory, reasoning skills and thinking so serious it affects someone's daily abilities. The two most common forms of Dementia are vascular Dementia, usually caused by stroke and Alzheimer's disease. Treatments exist for both, but there is currently no cure for either.
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