What was the last word that you said before bed yesterday? You probably don’t remember. That doesn’t mean that you have memory problems. You just didn’t think that it would be significant and maybe that is why your mind thought it wouldn’t be important to remember.
With words like Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease been thrown around, you might find yourself wondering whether you should get checked or not when you encounter memory changes.
The truth is, you will encounter some memory change situations often in your life. However, not all of them will be a cause for alarm. For instance, you could forget your neighbour’s name, forget the name of your favourite rock band, or even misplace your key. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you can now diagnose yourself with growth hormone deficiency in adults or any other syndrome that could lead to severe memory loss.
So, when should memory changes become a concern worth looking at? Normally, Dementia starts gradually and progresses with time. Taking note of the first symptoms will help you or your loved one get a diagnosis soon enough. That way, the doctors will know whether the condition can be reversed or the underlying condition dealt with.
Some of the early signs of severe memory problems include:
• Repeating the same words over and over.
• Sudden mood changes accompanied by frequent forgetfulness
• Losing your direction while driving, cycling or walking in a familiar neighbourhood
• Asking the same questions repeatedly within a short span of time
• Inability to complete tasks that were simple and easier before
• Mixing up unrelated words and using them in place of each other
• Misplacing items in very inappropriate places like placing your phone in the sink
• Forgetting recent events and appointments
• Having first degree relatives with Alzheimer’s disease can also predispose you
If you notice any of the above symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it’s essential to get a diagnosis. You will notice that most of the common memory change situations are not listed above because they are not anything that you should worry about. They only become a problem when they persist and affect your daily functions.
What Causes Memory Changes?
Sometimes, one of the ways to fully understand what you are going through is by looking at the cause. Memory loss can either be reversible or permanent depending on its cause. Some of the reversible causes of memory loss include:
• Medications: Some medications can make you more forgetful. If you notice frequent confusion on forgetfulness while on certain drugs, you need to talk to your doctor. Once you stop taking the drugs, your memory will improve
• Emotional psychological and medical problems: issues like stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to memory loss. Hypothyroidism and Vitamin B- 12 deficiency could also result in memory loss. Minor head traumas or even mixing medication with alcohol can lead to memory loss. Ince the underlying cause is treated, one can restore their brain function
• Old age: Some people become more forgetful as they age; though not all. As you age, you might misplace your glasses only to find them later. It shouldn’t be an issue unless it is associated with the reasons above.
• Brain conditions: Some brain diseases like a tumor or growth might result in temporary memory loss until it is treated. Human growth hormone deficiency since childhood can also result in memory loss. If hormone therapy is done early enough, the effect can be reversed.
Most of these if diagnosed early can be treated and it will not progress to permanent memory loss.
However, there are diseases that could cause permanent or progressive damage to your memory ability. These include:
• Vascular Dementia
• Lewy body Dementia
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Frontotemporal Dementia.
With these, your doctor might prescribe medications that will slow down the progression of memory loss.
Normally, people who need help will not notice it themselves. The people around you will notice changes in your behaviour. When they do, you should be flexible and ready to seek help to avoid further damage. If you have seen any of the above symptoms often and suspect that you could be suffering from serious memory loss, it is advisable to talk to your doctor. Otherwise, don’t worry too much about the small memory lapses. Sometimes you are just too tired or distracted.
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