Imagine this: You’re speaking with your friend, and you can’t wait to tell him about the great book you just finished reading. Out of the blue, you realize you can’t even remember the title of the book. Or maybe you were in a situation where you forgot about the name of your neighbor, or even wandering around the grocery store and not being able to remember what you wanted to buy in the first place. While problems with your memory may be scary and frustrating, memory loss is actually a perfectly normal part of aging. Most of the memory lapses shouldn’t concern you, but some of them might be a sign of a memory condition such as dementia. Anyway, what causes memory loss?
The reason why memory loss occurs
Age-related memory loss
It is normal to have a certain amount of memory loss as we age. Usually, normal age-related memory loss is minimal, and shouldn’t affect your daily life. Age-related memory loss is related to the deterioration of a very important part of the brain - the hippocampus which is crucial for the formation and retrieval of memories, and other key changes in the way the brain functions. We can also notice a decline in certain proteins and hormones responsible for protecting and repairing brain cells. Some older patients can also experience decreased blood flow to the brain as well. All of these changes are a normal part of aging, but there are several other treatable factors that can obstruct memory function:
Causes of dementia
Dementia doesn’t necessarily refer to a specific disease, rather it refers to a group of memory problems. The tricky part is that symptoms of dementia can result from a wide variety of causes such as diseases, injuries, and infections. Don’t forget that these symptoms are worse than the standard memory loss issues that come along with aging. Symptoms of dementia can include problems with language or communication, diminished multitasking ability, memory failure, and problems decoding nonverbal cues.
There are several potential causes of dementia, such as:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Vascular cognitive impairment
- Traumatic brain injury
When is the right time to visit a doctor about memory loss?
Even though memory loss is normal when a person gets older, several signs may be signal that you should pay a visit to your doctor. If your family is getting affected by your memory loss, or even put your own life in danger, it is advisable to visit the doctor as soon as possible. But don’t panic: there are various other reasons why you’re losing your memory apart from dementia. A physical examination can help your doctor assess your personal history, symptoms, risk factors, and other reversible causes of memory loss. If your doctor suspects that dementia is responsible for your memory loss, an early diagnosis can dramatically increase the quality of your life.
So what causes memory loss? One of the best and simplest answers is that it is a perfectly normal part of aging. But sometimes you have to go with the more complicated answer, and that is to pay a visit to your doctor as soon as possible if your memory loss affects your life negatively or puts you in danger. You can also be surrounded by experts such as the staff at a senior living community who can recognize signs of memory loss and provide the right comfort and support for you.
We can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.