Memory Loss

Almost everyone forgets things sometimes. You can’t remember a person’s name, where you put your keys or where you parked your car. As we get older, we may become more forgetful or need more time to learn something new. But unusual forgetfulness, or memory loss, is not part of normal aging. It can interfere with your daily life and should be checked out by your doctor.

Memory loss may cause you to forget past events, recent happenings or both. It may be temporary or permanent. It may come on suddenly or be a more gradual issue. Memory loss can happen at any age, and it can be caused by many things. Many areas of the brain are involved in creating memories and retrieving them. A problem in any of these areas can lead to memory loss.

Some causes of memory loss are:

  • Brain infection (like Lyme disease or syphilis)
  • Brain tumor
  • Certain medications
  • Concussion or head trauma
  • Dementia
  • Depression or other mental health conditions
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Major surgery or serious illness
  • Migraine headaches
  • Nutritional problems and vitamin deficiencies
  • Seizures
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stroke

It’s important to determine the exact cause of memory loss. Your doctor should conduct a complete physical and neurological exam, take your medical history and ask questions to test your mental ability. He or she will likely also order lab work and imaging scans.

Treatments

Treatment for memory loss depends on the cause. If it is being caused by medications, it may be resolved by replacing your current medicine with something else. If your memory loss is caused by a nutritional deficiency, you can change your diet and/or take supplements. If memory loss is due to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, there are drugs that may help.

Occupational therapy or some other form of rehabilitation can help you remember how to do certain tasks, especially following a stroke or other neurological condition. Some memory loss patients are helped by cognitive behavior therapy. “Smart” technology, such as a smartphone or tablet, can also be helpful by improving organization and receiving reminders. 
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Symptoms and Screenings for Memory Loss

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Causes and Preventions for Memory Loss

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Education and Resources for Memory Loss

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Support groups for Memory Loss

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Learn More about Memory Loss

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