Memory loss

Dealing with memory loss

Almost nobody is exempted from the accusation of being forgetful at some points in life, but this condition definitely becomes more prevalent as one age. In fact, mild forgetfulness is normally associated as part of the aging process and it does not pose a problem as this does not get in the way of resuming normal everyday life. We are also thankful to the fact that forgetfulness induced by age can be easily preempted, slowed down or even halted when we are able to stay mentally agile (activities like reading, writing or learning a new skill can all help), exploring new hobbies, keep an active social life and making necessary switches to the existing lifestyle, for example adhering to a healthier diet, quit smoking, reduce alcohol intake, plenty of rest and sleep and of course get involved with the right level of physical activity.

Yet when memory problems become more severe, it may then be impossible to carry out our daily activities. Some people are affected to such extent that they find problem in cooking, handling a car, manage their cash or even figuring out the way home. When such issues emerge, we can no longer take for granted that the memory loss is part and parcel of aging, rather it has manifested itself as a symptom of some health condition that is a lot more serious.

Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss

We are all familiar with the cases of Alzheimer’s disease and some other forms of dementia as we can equate effortlessly how these disorders come about to being associated with memory loss. But in reality, the list does not end here. Some health conditions that are attributed to memory problems include our emotional problems like stress, depression, loneliness and anxiety; tumors, infections or blood clots in the brain; head injuries; nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamins B1 and B12; medications, such as sleeping pills, antihistamines and antidepressants; some thyroid, liver or kidney dysfunctions. Thankfully, unlike the case of memory loss induced through Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, memory problems that surface from the above-mentioned health issues are generally treatable – when effective treatment is administered to deal with the underlying condition.

Unfortunately patients of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia will find no relief thus far. These are progressive diseases and often inflict serious damage that is not just restricted to memory, but often also other functions of brain, for example language, motor and behavioral competency. The observation is most applicable for Alzheimer’s disease patients who, as the disease progresses to the last stage, will find themselves no longer able to take hold of their speech and movement abilities and the simplest routine now would present big problem when they are left on their own.

While there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, we can effectively slow its progress (and along the way, relieve the symptoms). This is especially true if one can be diagnosed early. For the time being, there are only limited choices (in the form of medicines) when we contemplate slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s and/or relieve the severity of symptoms. But surely we can look forward to intensive research that is going on to find the more effective medical options to treat this disease, perhaps a cure in the not so distant future.