Although memory loss is a normal part of growing older, we don’t have to accept this as inevitable. Understanding the causes of memory loss and taking action are the first steps to minimize memory problems before they escalate. As well as allowing you to enjoy a full life, preventing memory loss can also save on medical costs and worry down the road.
Causes of Memory Loss
Age-related memory loss is commonly attributed to early stage Alzheimer’s and dementia, but it can be caused by other social choices and medical problems such as:
- Food poisoning from Atlantic mussels
- Alcohol abuse
- Medications including statins and antihistamine
- Nutritional deficiency
- Marijuana abuse
- HIV and AIDS
- Brain tumor
- Subdural Hematoma (blood clot caused by a head injury or fall)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- HHV-6 encephalitis
- Morgellon’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
Memory Loss Symptoms
Memory loss is defined as becoming more forgetful than normal. The aging process means that older people may take longer to remember things, particularly names of people and places. You may become more forgetful and absentminded, starting off to get something and forgetting what it was you needed. This is very different from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which are a form of brain disease.
Reducing the Risk of Memory Loss
Although dementia is currently irreversible, there are plenty of ways to help you improve your memory and reduce forgetfulness. First of all, ensure you are eating a healthy diet and sleeping well. Saturated fat is known to impair memory and concentration, while fresh fruit and vegetables are high in antioxidants to protect the brain cells from damaging free radicals.
If you feel your memory loss is caused by certain medications, consult your doctor about substitutes. Keep a record of the days you feel particularly woolly headed and see if it improves with a change of medication or activity. Treating depression can be helpful if depression is the root cause of your poor memory, although antidepressants may contribute to memory loss.
Taking daily supplements can ensure that your memory loss is not caused by a vitamin deficiency. A lack of vitamin B12, for example, can lead to pernicious anemia. Symptoms include tiredness, a yellowish skin tone, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, difficulty maintaining balance and poor memory. Other health supplements are formulated to support brain health, cognitive function and memory.
Although our frenetic lifestyle means we have to remember far more in terms of passwords, multiple phone numbers and PINs, our brains are capable of far more than we ever require of them. Keep your brain active and alert with puzzles such as Sudoku or crosswords. Reading is another way to continually make use of words which can exercise and improve your memory.
Finally, try using mnemonics tricks using word association, rhymes, acronyms, colors and other devices to recall a word, name or information. It’s fun and with a little practice it can counter your memory loss.