Medical &Health

What Causes Memory Loss and Forgetfulness?

Memory loss can be a dangerous issue for many to tackle; unlike other serious conditions like heart attacks or strokes, memory loss is a slow burn and may only be addressed when one is far along in this deterioration. It’s difficult to correlate a simple oversight to a legitimate cognitive impairment. What causes serious memory loss and how can severe forgetfulness be tackled?

What are the symptoms of memory loss?

Small oversights like forgetting to tell someone something you’ve been holding onto for a while or leaving the house without your wallet are simple examples that do not warrant much concern, but there are a few indications of the type of memory loss that require immediate attention.

- Asking the same question repeatedly;

- Forgetting simple words when conversing;

- Mixing up words while talking to other people;

- Forgetting aspects of straightforward tasks;

The above symptoms are some of the key examples that will require a certain level of attention at the very least.

When the condition becomes more serious, getting lost when walking in a place that isn’t new to you or a sudden change of behavior are common effects of later stages in the diagnosis.

In order to prevent or at least slow the process of this cognitive condition, finding possible causes is the best preemptive measure to take. Whether it's hereditary, cause-related, or emotional state; knowing the causes could save you and your family years of possible hardship.

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Causes of forgetfulness

Medication

Ironically, a cure for something can lead to a whole other problem. Medications that may cause memory loss are almost always a byproduct of its side effect and can affect patients differently. Examples of drugs include antiseizure, anti-anxiety, cholesterol, sleeping pills, antihistamines, and Parkinson’s.

Specifically, the Benzodiazepines that are present in all these medications are directly responsible for dampening brain activity that tampers short-term and long-term memories. For perspective, Benzodiazepine is used for anesthesia. The effects pose a higher risk to senior patients due to a slower immune system that struggles to detox the medication’s impact.

Head Injury

This is purely circumstantial but concussions and fall accidents may cause temporary memory loss. Since the point of impact is on a case basis, factors like long-term or short-term memory loss are far too unpredictable to conclude. Unfortunately, staying safe and away from injuries like this is the guaranteed way to avoid memory loss in this fashion.

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Depression & Anxiety

Possibly made worse with anti-anxiety medication, general depression and anxiety as a whole plays a part in losing memories. The extent of its severity varies on the magnitude of said emotions, but the common cause stems from having poor concentration for extended periods of time. With constant emotional distractions such as feelings of hopelessness, fear and self-doubt, the train of thought is often blurred and structure becomes loose enough for memories to slip away.

Alcoholism

Alcohol catalyses any potential memory loss on an emotional and medication point. As alcohol clearly impairs cognitive functions, an excess of this amplifies the mind’s disarray during periods of depression and anxiety, but possibly for a longer term if alcohol becomes an addiction. Additionally, alcohol can affect certain medications and cause a higher risk of memory loss if the two are mixed together. Ultimately, this is only if alcohol becomes a daily necessity - if not, the effects are mild.

Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

Although this doesn’t happen often, the body’s lack of Vitamin B-12 has proven a potential risk of dementia. Unfortunately, stocking up on the nutrient will not minimise the risk as Vitamin B-12 does not actively improve brain activity, but it is important to stay vigilant on Vitamin B-12 intake and ensure that the body is never starved off from it. Foods like fish and cereal are good sources and easy to find.

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Questions The Doctor Will Ask You

Memory loss has varying levels of severity; Alzheimer's and dementia being the most dangerous out of all other conditions, while other factors (as stated above) can be reversed. When seeing the doctor, there will be tons of questions hurled your way, so it’s best to have a think before dropping a visit.

Questions you can expect are:

- Have you recently been ill?

- Have you felt depressed or anxious?

- How often do you drink alcohol?

- How often do you realize that you’ve forgotten something?

The above questions are relatively easy to answer, but asking yourself this is important to decide whether you’re simply being forgetful, or if the holes in your memory are happening too frequently.

Being safe and having a diagnosis from the local doctor is well worth the cost. Taking the risk of letting the mind deteriorate is a dangerous idea and being safe will give you the proper treatment to overcome the problem before it becomes worse or permanent. Most importantly, doctors are the best source of information to gauge whether anything hereditary may spill over into your dilemma.

Source: United News of Bangladesh