Memory Loss (Amnesia) is unusual forgetfulness. It may refer to not being able to remember new events, not being able to recall one or more memories of the past, or both. Normal aging may lead to trouble learning new material or requiring a longer time to remember learned material. However, it does not lead to dramatic memory loss unless diseases are involved. Memory loss can be seen with impaired concentration, such as with depression. It can be hard to tell the difference. The brain is capable of producing new brain cells at any age, so significant memory loss is not an inevitable result of aging. But just as it is with muscle strength, you have to use it or lose it. Your lifestyle, health habits, and daily activities have a huge impact on the health of your brain. Whatever your age, there are many ways you can improve your cognitive skills, prevent memory loss, and protect your grey matter.
Symptoms of Memory Loss
Symptoms of memory loss vary from person to person, but can include: forgetting dates and names, beginning a task but then forgetting the purpose of it, getting lost easily, repeating things over and over again, sometimes in the same conversation and having difficulties performing familiar tasks such as driving or baking. They usually occur gradually and may vary in intensity depending on the cause of the condition.
Confusion or decreasedalertness may be the first symptom of memory loss and also of serious illness, particularly in older adults.
The most worrisome symptoms are not those related to things that people forget to do. Some patients may have problems mixing up or remembering words for objects or can have trouble understanding or taking part in a conversation. Being unable to make a simple decision can suggest that something is not working as it should and medical advice should be sought.
Causes of Memory Loss (Amnesia)
Some of the causes of memory loss are as follows:-
- The Hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in the formation and retrieval of memories, often deteriorates with age.
- Growth Factors. Hormones and proteins that protect and repair brain cells and stimulate neural growth—decline with age.
- Older people often experience Decreased Blood Flow to the brain, which can impair memory and lead to changes in cognitive skills.
- Older people are less efficient at absorbing brain enhancing nutrients.
Memory Loss may be short-term (called transient). Causes of Memory Loss may include:
- Alcohol or illicit drug intoxication
- An event in which not enough oxygen was going to the brain (heart stopped, stopped breathing, complications from receiving anesthesia)
- Brain growths (caused by tumors or infection)
- Brain infections such as Lyme disease, syphilis, or HIV/AIDS
- Brain surgery, such as surgery to treat seizure disorders
- Cancer treatments, such as brain radiation, bone marrow transplant, or after chemotherapy
- Certain medications
- Certain types of seizures
- Depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia when symptoms have not been well controlled
- Dissociative disorder (not being able to remember a major, traumatic event; the memory loss may be short-term or long-term)
- Drugssuch as barbiturates or benzodiazepines
- Electroconvulsive therapy (especially if it is long-term)
- Encephalitis of any type (infection, autoimmune disease, chemical/drug induced)
- Epilepsy that is not well controlled with medications
- Head trauma or injury
- Heart bypass surgery
- Illness that results in the loss of, or damage to, nerve cells (neurodegenerative illness), such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, or multiple sclerosis
- Long-term alcohol abuse
- Migraine headache
- Mild head injury or concussion
- Nutritional problems (vitamin deficiencies such as low vitamin B12)
- Permanent damage or injuries to the brain
- Transient global amnesia
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
Prevention of Memory Loss
- The most common preventable cause of memory loss is Brain Trauma, especially trauma resulting from head injury. Preventative measures, such as wearing a seat belt while driving or a helmet while biking, can reduce the risk of head injury
- Eating Nutritious Foods and reducing stress may help prevent memory loss. In addition, it may be helpful to avoid risk factors such as alcohol abuse and exposure to toxic chemicals.
- As High Blood Pressure increases the risk for Stroke, and therefore memory loss, blood pressure should be kept under control. Adjustments to lifestyle, such as exercise and smoking cessation, can also further reduce the risk for stroke and brain trauma.
- Sudden memory loss cannot be prevented, but patients who experience memory loss as a result aging may keep their brain cells healthy and active with Exercise and Dietary Supplements.
- Some specialists recommend that patients Drink Enough Water for better hydration.
- Sleep Deprivation And Stress are also thought to impact the proper functioning of the brain cells, so it is important to get enough rest and avoid stressful activities.
- Socializing is also believed to be beneficial for individuals who may develop memory loss.
- Some Dietary Supplements may be recommended as a means to prevent memory loss. These include Multivitamins and Mineral Complexes, Boron, Lecithin, Garlic, Gingko, Vitamin B Complex, Zinc, Copper, Acetylcholine, DMAE, and Vitamin C with Bioflavonoid.
Treatment of Memory Loss (Amnesia)
Treatment For Memory Loss (Amnesia) depends on the cause. In many cases, it may be reversible with treatment. For example, Memory Loss from medications may resolve with a change in medication. Nutritional Supplements can be useful against memory loss caused by a nutritional deficiency. And Treating Depression may be helpful for memory when depression is a factor. In some cases, such as following a stroke, therapy may help people remember how to do certain tasks such as walking or tying shoes. In others, memory may improve over time. Treatments may also be specific to conditions related to memory loss. For example, drugs are available to treat memory problems related to Alzheimer’s Disease, and drugs to help lower blood pressure can help reduce risk of more brain damage from dementia related to High Blood Pressure.