Getting older brings life experience, long-lasting relationships, and, hopefully, financial stability. However, it also brings fears of illness, loss of independence, and worrying about memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
These are genuine fears for many people, especially if they have watched older loved ones suffer from these conditions. Any problem with the store is especially concerning because it can take us away from our loved ones even when in the same room. Not knowing who they are, where we are, or even how to function through the day can be terrifying.
Is forgetting why we walked into a room a reason for concern?
Should you worry that it takes you a long time to learn something new, including names?
Remembrance lapses and the need to focus more on new information and names are relatively common as we age. They are not necessarily reasons for concern unless mind loss interferes with daily functions.
Everyone forgets things now and then. Forgetting that you needed to pay a credit card bill is not the same as not remembering your name. While those may seem extreme differences, they point out that occasional forgetfulness is not the same as the signs of dementia.
What Are Memory Loss and Forgetfulness?
It would be easy to jump right into mindfulness and dementia without looking first at forgetfulness, but that would be a disservice to millions of adults who worry needlessly about the little things they forget. For that reason, we begin by examining forgetfulness.
It is usual for everyone to forget things or have occasional anamnesis. Sometimes, we have so much on our minds that we do not pay attention or focus as we should. Just as there are different types of dementia, seven normal types of recollection problems are highlighted below. These cognizance problems are not areas of concern for dementia, although individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should consider seeking help for ways to deal with their concerns.
7 Normal Types of Memory Problems
Lack of attention is the primary cause of absentmindedness. Forgetfulness of this type is common in the misplacement of keys, glasses, cell phones, and other frequently used items. If you do not focus on an action, especially a common one, or your mind is thinking about something else, the brain may not store the required information. Absentmindedness also encompasses forgetting to do tasks like keeping appointments, taking medications, or paying bills.
Personal beliefs, experiences, moods, and knowledge can alter memories, shaping them as we choose. Bias memories allow for recall, but often in a distorted way.
Memory blocking becomes more common as we age, when names, answers, and other things might be on the tip of the tongue but unable to come to the surface. The brain may block memorization for many reasons, including because other memories are competing at that time. Most people can retrieve about 50 percent of their blocked memories quickly.
Part of the awareness comes to the surface in this type of forgetfulness, but some details may be forgotten. Misattribution becomes more common as we age, partly because our memories are older and buried under years of other information and partly because our concentration abilities decline.
In this type of recapture problem, it is not forgetfulness that causes issues but the ongoing memory of things we cannot forget. These are typically negative or traumatic feelings or events, which may or may not be distorted by time.
PTSD falls under this category, with flashbacks of disturbing experiences coming into the mind. Persistent memories can also prevent remembering other, more pleasant thoughts as they take over the mind.
Consciousness is highly vulnerable to suggestion, tricking the mind into believing something that was not so. Suggestibility can change the way we remember a fact or incident.
In this type of forgetfulness, people may forget new information that is not often used. The brain stores and retains useful information and clears away what it believes is unnecessary.
What is Short-term Memory Loss?
Short-term memory loss is when a person can only remember a small bit of information for a short time. Information coming into the brain requires processing that sends it to long-term remembrance.
There, it gets filed away for future recall. While short-term memory loss causes can be due to many of the same factors as anamnesis in general, it can also be due to distraction, not paying attention, or not trying to remember the information.
For example, if you meet someone new and they tell you their name, but you do not focus on that nor repeat it, you will likely not remember it. The name is not processed into short-term recall for storage later.
Memory loss can encompass different conditions, including the various types of dementia. Different areas of the brain are involved in reminiscence storage and recall, and memory loss occurs when they do not work together. The brain receives the information, encodes it for storage, stores it for future use, and retrieves it when needed.
Memory loss can be acute, often termed amnesia, in response to a sudden injury, illness, medical treatment, or other occurrence that disrupts awareness processes. It can also be progressive, where memory loss occurs gradually, as with degenerative brain diseases.
There are also several types of mind, and how the brain uses them may vary. Some people may excel in one area of memory but have trouble with another.
Here Are the Different Types of Memory
These memories recall past experiences and events and can be recent or long ago. Recent episodic memory examples include the location of your parked car or where you put your phone. Distant events can be linked to feelings, emotions, and experiences from childhood or any previous time in one’s life.
With prospective memory, the brain focuses on dates, appointments, and events in the future. A person with problems in this area may forget to take medication or follow through on commitments.
Difficulty with semantic memory can be shown as forgetting people’s names, not recognizing familiar faces or sights, uncertainty about objects, having trouble finding the right word, or not remembering specific facts.
With working memory, your brain focuses on the task at hand, such as calculating numbers in your head, following instructions, and keeping track of what you are doing. Working memory helps the brain organize information to be stored away long-term.
Is the Problem Memory Loss or Dementia?
Unlike anamnesis, dementia is not “caused” by aging, although it happens more often in older adults. Dementia is a progressive, pathological disease that encompasses numerous types, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Huntington’s disease
- Mixed dementia
- Parkinson’s disease dementia
- Vascular dementia
These are just a few of the various types of dementia that could occur. The early signs of dementia can mimic memory loss, such as issues with short-term recollection, remembering appointments, or keeping track of the keys or phone. Dementia symptoms progress over time.
When Should You Pay Attention to Memory Loss?
Mild forgetfulness happens to everyone, especially with aging. The busier a person is, and the more things they have on their mind, the more overloaded the brain can become. Mindfulness can help with memorization.
However, when amnesia starts interfering with daily life, that is the time to pay attention and act. Depending on the type of lapse of memory disease, the symptoms may start mild or sporadic, increasing in nature and frequency as time progresses. Age-related oblivion develops slowly over the years.
The first signs of dementia can vary considerably depending on the type, and memory loss may not be present in the beginning. With Alzheimer’s symptoms, disorientation, trouble during familiar tasks, problems with daily activities, impaired judgment, changes in communication, and problems with abstract thinking are the early signs.
There is more to memory loss than forgetting things or having difficulty with recall. Progressive amnesia can take months or years to become apparent. As described earlier, occasional forgetfulness is not the same as memory loss.
Here Are Some Warning Signs of Memory Loss
Asking the same questions repeatedly
While not remembering someone’s name is a sign of forgetfulness, asking them to repeat it frequently signals something worse if they do not remember asking for it before. If a person continues to repeat the same question, especially if they are unaware, it is a sign of something wrong.
Having trouble doing everyday tasks, such as using a phone or driving a car
Anytime daily tasks become a problem, that is a warning sign of mindfulness issues.
Getting lost in familiar places
Wandering off (often a sign of dementia), not knowing where they live or where they should be, is a significant step beyond mild amnesia.
Confusion about time, places, and people
Forgetting an appointment one time may not be a problem, but multiple issues with schedules, time of day or date, not knowing where they are, or who is with them can be a concern.
Difficulty following directions or recipes
Understanding the information that is provided often signals an impaired cognitive pathway connection. The individual may forget that they have taken a step, miss a step in the process, or cannot perform it.
Difficulty remembering recent conversations
Unlike bias, a form of forgetfulness that alters or distorts a consciousness, or short-term memory loss in which only parts of the conversation can be recalled, an inability to remember a recent conversation entirely is a more distressing sign of advancing memory loss.
Everyone experiences times when they might put their keys or phone someplace different, especially if they are in a rush. However, if misplacing items becomes a habit, something more serious is present.
Inability to care for oneself
Changing daily habits, such as poor eating, not bathing, or unsafe actions, are often signs of advancing memory problems.
What Can Cause Memory Loss?
The causes of recapture problems can vary significantly based on the type. Narrowing what causes memory loss and forgetfulness to what happens in a person’s life can also help determine the appropriate steps.
For example, a person dealing with forgetfulness may find that not focusing, lack of sleep, too much caffeine, or stress interferes with their ability to concentrate. Addressing those issues can help reduce forgetfulness.
What causes cognizance loss, and are any causes preventable or reversible?
Memory loss has many causes, partly depending on the mind issue type. Some issues are treatable, while others can be prevented or reversed by taking steps to correct the cause.
Possible Causes of Memory Loss
Here are some possible causes of memory loss, including short-term memory loss that can be reversed through the necessary actions:
While getting older often impacts awareness, as much as 10% or more, that type of memory loss can be prevented, especially when taking actions to form new nerve connections through mentally stimulating activities.
Alcohol abuse causes many problems for health, including impaired mental abilities and memory loss.
Brain disease, surgery, or other procedures
Infections or tumors in the brain can impact awareness. Treatment can help reverse retention loss.
Arthritis and other pain conditions can lead to memory problems associated with brain fog, as concentrating and learning new things can be challenging when in pain.
Underactive thyroid glands decrease thyroid hormone production. Additionally, if the pituitary gland or hypothalamus is not functioning correctly, their hormone levels may suffer. Hormonal imbalance can lead to consciousness problems.
Certain medications, including anti-anxiety drugs, antihistamines, antiseizure drugs, beta-blockers, incontinence drugs, narcotics, sleeping medications, statins, and tricyclic antidepressants, are some of the drugs that can lead to memory loss. Speak with your doctor about changing your medication if you have concerns about it affecting your mind.
Anxiety, depression, and stress can lead to many mental issues, including forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, confusion, and impaired recall. Suppressing emotions can also influence memory and has been shown to increase the risk of dementia.
Remembrance problems can stem from untreated sleep apnea. Sleep deprivation can also influence short-term memory.
Traumatic brain injury
Sudden (amnesia) can occur in cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) from falls or accidents that damage brain cells. Even a mild head injury can affect memories.
A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to cognizance problems because it helps maintain healthy red blood and never cells crucial to cognitive functions.
Acute memory loss can occur from some of the issues listed above, as well as those below:
- Brain bleeds
- Cancer treatment, including radiation therapy and chemotherapy
- Cardiac arrest
- Environmental toxins, including carbon monoxide poisoning
- Infections, including encephalitis and HIV
- Recreational drug use
- Traumatic events
Progressive amnesia includes various forms of dementia. Causes of dementia are often associated with diseases that damage brain cells. The brain has numerous regions, and symptoms of dementia will depend on the damaged region. Because dementia affects short-term rather than long-term memory, doctors will look to see how well a person makes new memories.
Other causes of progressive amnesia include brain tumors, vascular brain disorders, and multiple sclerosis.
How to Prevent Loss or Improve Memory
It is always easiest to act before situations worsen, and a proactive approach to preventing mindfulness loss and improving overall memory can make a significant difference.
Here are some of the leading tips for improving memory and mental skills:
Get proper sleep
People who get less than seven hours of sleep are more likely to struggle with mental tasks and memory. Seven to nine hours is ideal for adults.
Follow a routine
Having a daily routine keeps you focused on specific tasks. It also provides others with a way of identifying if there is a memory problem.
Learn something new
With each new thing you learn, new pathways in the brain form. Great options include taking up a new hobby, learning an instrument or language, or starting a new exercise program.
Create action plans
By creating daily tasks, to-do lists, shopping lists, and daily reminders using day planners, calendars, and notes, you can track what you need, have, or want to do.
Spending time with family and friends helps keep the mind and body active. Socializing releases feel-good endorphins and serotonin into the bloodstream to improve overall cognitive health.
Engage in activities that help the mind and body
Activities such as hobbies, exercise, and walking keep the brain and the body engaged. Mind-enriching activities such as crossword, number, and other word puzzles are excellent for brain health.
Some hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone, decline with age. Because of their direct influence on the brain, their decrease can cause impairments in cognition. These changes can impact your life heavily.
Human growth hormone is an excellent treatment for growth hormone deficiency. HGH can speed learning and improve focus, memory, mood, and mental state. Find out how Genotropin before and after results can provide superior benefits to cognitive health.
Exercise and eat well
Get plenty of exercise and consume a variety of healthy foods, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and heart-healthy fats.
The following actions can help prevent or reduce the risk of memory loss:
- Wear appropriate safety headgear when engaging in sports or riding bicycles or motorcycles.
- Keep health conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes under control.
- Get a yearly physical examination to ensure that all is well.
- Maintain a healthy weight to allow your body to produce adequate hormones and promote healthy circulation and digestion.
- Take medications as prescribed by your doctor to manage any health issues. Treat infections appropriately to prevent them from causing further complications.
- Get help for any mental issues, including depression and anxiety.
- Avoid recreational drug use and excessive alcohol intake.
As we age, our brains lose their ability to function as sharply as they did when we were younger. A 10% memory loss is common as we get older. Understanding the cause of any forgetfulness can help you take steps to reduce memory lapses. If you find it difficult to remember the names of new people you meet, learn to focus on them and repeat them a few times during the conversation. That type of action can help with improving short-term memory functions.
Typical, age-related memory loss will not interfere with daily activities, work, or relationships. When lapses of awareness begin to affect work or life, that can mean it is more than forgetfulness.
It is crucial to seek medical help if there is a concern for memory loss. The doctor can perform a consciousness test and other assessments to determine the problem. A neurologist may be needed to treat any brain and nervous system disorders. Depression can accompany cognizance loss, as a person who is aware of any issues may become fearful of what the future holds. Early medical intervention can help improve cognition in many instances – but not all. Regular examinations can help reduce future problems.