Memory loss is considered to be a natural process of aging. No matter how natural it’s said to be, it can be extremely frustrating for not only those dealing with it directly, but for their love ones as well. As the body ages, so does the brain. Therefore, a decline in cognitive skills is a normal part of growing old.
It usually starts with forgetfulness. You can’t remember where you put your keys or wallet. Maybe you can’t remember a name or two or a particular event that took place recently. We all have experienced this type of “fuzziness” at some point in our lives. So, just because you have a momentary “brain cramp,” that’s no reason to press the panic button yet. Although there’s a natural progression of memory decline that’s normal that comes with aging, be aware that there are other causes that could intensify this natural progression.
Other Causes of Memory Loss:
- High blood pressure: Hypertension can cause damage to blood vessels by causing a build-up inside the blood vessels, making them narrow. If the amount of blood flow is less than it should be, the brain cannot work efficiently. This can lead to loss of memory and other symptoms.
- Medication side affects: As a result of side effects from their medication, some individuals could experience memory loss. These side effects are normally rare, however, they still occur with some patients. Before taking any medication, you should always discuss any potential side effects with your doctor.
- Hypothyroidism: Some individuals find that once they’re diagnosed with hypothyrodism (when the thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormones) they begin to experience a significant decline in their memory and concentration levels. The thyroid plays a significant role in the body’s metabolism. With thyroid hormone levels being low due to hypothyroidism, the metabolism is therefore slow and individuals could experience memory loss problems or experience trouble concentrating.
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in the metabolism of every cell in the body, particularly affecting the brain and nervous system. According to a BBC report, people who are older are six times more likely to experience brain shrinkage, which could to associated with the development of Dementia. The effects of vitamin B12 deficiency can mimic those of Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Depression: Memory loss or the inability to focus may not appear to be obvious signs of depression, but actually, memory loss is the most prominent sign of depression. People who are depressed have a decrease in seratonin. Sertonin is a hormone found in the human brain, which largely influences a state of overall “well-being.” Being considered the “happy” hormone, seratonin regulates moods and relieves depression. So, when depression arises, it’s stemming from abnormal functioning of the area of the brain that’s important to memory.
- Diabetes: Being that the brain’s most important fuel is glucose, when diabetes is poorly controlled, memory loss may occur. Memory loss has been closely linked to diabetes. The brain runs on glucose, so in order to maintain normal brain functioning, people with diabetes need to regulate the transport of glucose into the brain. This type of regulation is normally done with what’s called the blood brain barrier.
- Environmental toxins: According to researchers, being exposed to chemicals at work or through other sources has been known to cause early onset of mild cases of memory loss. Studies show that pesticides and solvents can also cause mild memory loss.
Dementia is not considered a particular disease, but instead is said to be a group of symtoms affecting thinking and social abilities. Despite the fact that memory loss occurs in Dementia, this alone doesn’t mean you have Dementia. There are several symptoms of Dementia with the most common being memory loss.
Millions in the world are living with Alzheimer’s Disease, which is the slow decline of memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. Alzheimer’s Disease has many symptoms, but one of the most common symptoms is when the loss of memory begins to disrupt everyday life.
Prevention or Solution
In order to stave off memory loss, you need to stay active. Stay involved in your community so you can continue to socialize and meet new people and learn new names. Read books, exercise, do yoga, meditate, play board games, challenge your mind with crossword puzzles, and write to keep your mind sharp.
There may not be much we can do to prevent diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) from robbing us of our memory, but there are things we can do to slow down or prevent memory loss. You should see your doctor to determine whether or not your memory loss is simply a natural progression of aging or if it’s something more serious.
Written by Wimberly Tidwell