Memory Loss – Should you be concerned?
September 3, 2021
Is your grandmother or granduncle starting to forget things? Are they not remembering your name or what they should be doing? Do you take it lightly because they are ageing? Forgetfulness is something that people in general experience especially when they age. For instance, they walk into a room and forget why they entered the room in the first place. The brain is constantly arranging, storing and recovering data and it’s entirely normal for things to fall through the cracks. Be that as it may, not all memory loss is normal. Sometimes, memory loss can be connected to explicit causes and even be an indication of a more serious issue. Let’s dive in and understand the terms and causes.
What is memory loss?
Memory loss is failure to remember information and experiences that a person would normally be able to recall. It is sometimes called amnesia and can affect short-term memory or long-term memory.
Causes of memory loss
Though memory loss can be attributed to various issues, here is a list of the most commonly identified factors.
- Alcohol or drug use
- Lack of sleep
- Depression and anxiety
- Head injury
- Poor nutrition
Memory loss with reference to ageing
Change in the memory occurs naturally as a result of the ageing process. Sometimes, it goes unnoticed and it occurs sooner than anticipated for a person. Changes in the memory can happen due to the medication, side effects, developing illness in the body etc.
Basic absent mindedness like missing keys and delay or slowing in recalling names, dates, and occasions can be a part of the normal process of ageing. There are numerous memory processes, including learning new information, reviewing information, and recognizing familiar information that can get disrupted. Likewise, there are various kinds of memory, each of which can be affected distinctively by the normal ageing factor.
Memory loss and Dementia
Every memory loss need not necessarily mean it’s dementia, yet let’s understand what it is. Dementia is a broad term that describes the loss of thinking ability, memory, attention, logical reasoning, and other mental abilities which are severe enough to interfere with occupational functioning. It isn’t a specific disease, several diseases can cause dementia.
What causes it?
Dementia is caused by damage or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain. Contingent upon the area of the brain that is harmed, dementia can influence individuals differently and cause different symptoms.
Common causes of dementia are:
- Alzheimer’s disease – It is the most common cause of dementia
- Vascular dementia – problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to your brain.
- Parkinson’s disease – affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine
- Dementia with Lewy bodies – clumps of protein (lewy bodies) form in the brain and disrupt it’s function and activity
- Frontotemporal dementia – when frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are damaged.
- Severe head injury – over the years, people with severe head injury can develop alzheimers’ or dementia.
As a person starts ageing, the brain also gets old and it cannot process and store all the memories and information, it decides what is worth remembering and what is not. Memory doesn’t always work perfectly, for aged people, it may take time to get things right. If they are constantly forgetting things which they have been habituated to since their childhood, It could be one of the symptoms of memory loss. They might be required to seek help from doctors.