Memory loss is possible at different stages of life. It’s common to lose car keys or forget someone’s name. We all forget some things; it is only a problem when it happens frequently.
Aging means that memory loss problems appear repeatedly. Likewise, in most people other abilities decline over time.
On the other hand, there are explainable differences between normal memory decline and disease-associated losses. The main causes of memory loss could be treatable, so it is recommended to make an early diagnosis.
Memory loss and aging
Age-related memory loss is normal. Failures related to memory decline do not impede productivity and enjoyment of a full life. In relation to memory, the most important thing is that memories appear even hours later.
Aging generates progressive changes and deterioration in people. The main symptoms begin to be noticed as we age; we may observe them when we see how our activities are transformed. Slowing everything down, including an extra step, or cutting out a usual one, can all be noticeable.
Memory changes due to aging are manageable and do not disrupt our routines. Now scientists have found that some memory problems are serious and others are not. When it comes to aging, a geriatrician can help with a diagnosis.
Having poor memory is a normal aspect of aging. The brain is one of the organs that face important changes in old age. However, people age patiently coping with mild memory problems.
In the same way, for some older adults learning complex activities is more complicated. Despite this, research has found that people who age healthily can improve their mental capacity.
Other causes of memory loss
In addition to age, some causes of memory loss are related to health problems. Among the most common causes we find the following:
- Side effects of certain medications
- Cancer treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy
- Head trauma or concussion
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Brain infections
- Disorders in organs such as kidneys and liver or the thyroid gland
- Diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s
- Anxiety and depression
Some of these causes are more serious than others; therefore, an early diagnosis is important to determine the degree of the condition. In the same way, treatments vary depending on the origin of the problem. While health problems require medical treatment, emotional problems improve with therapy, counseling, and sometimes medication as well.
Treatment of memory loss
So far there is no treatment that definitively helps reverse memory loss. However, memory may improve depending on the cause of the loss. Sometimes only recovery from a temporary condition is necessary; otherwise the main treatments are:
- Language therapies
- Memory exercises designed by specialists
- Family counseling or support
- Specific medications
- Use of supplements
- Diet determined for each case
Before starting the specific treatment, a physical examination is necessary by a specialist doctor, who may be a geriatrician, psychiatrist, neurologist, or psychologist. The specialist will ask questions and test your skills, and may also order a blood test. Other tests include: lumbar puncture, neurological examination, electroencephalogram, computed tomography or positron emission tomography.