It's expected to occasionally forget things, and as one ages, it's acceptable to become a little more forgetful. But how much forgetting can be considered typical? How can one determine whether memory lapses are just a result of natural forgetfulness brought on by ageing or whether they are a sign of a more serious condition? At any age, healthy individuals might experience memory loss or memory distortion. Although some of these memory issues may worsen with age, these changes often indicate moderate forgetfulness, which tends to be a natural aspect of ageing rather than major memory issues.
What is natural memory loss and what is not?
What differentiates common, age-related forgetfulness from a major memory problem? While some memory loss is common as we get older, severe memory issues make it difficult to carry out daily tasks such as driving, using a phone, and finding the way home. Some individuals may find that learning new things takes longer than it used to, that they don't recall things as well as they used to, or that they frequently misplace things like their glasses. These are often symptoms of moderate forgetfulness rather than severe memory loss issues like Alzheimer's disease.
Differences between normal ageing and severe memory loss
- Making incorrect decisions occasionally is a natural part of becoming older, but doing it frequently can be a sign of severe memory loss.
- Normal forgetfulness includes forgetting what day it is and recalling it later, but forgetting the date or the time of year is not normal.
- It's natural to occasionally miss an appropriate word, but having difficulty conversing is a major problem.
- When you often lose items and can't seem to find them, it may be a sign of more significant memory loss than the occasional loss of things.
Causes of forgetfulness
Memory losses are troubling, annoying, and even frightening. They can make people fear that they are going to develop dementia or Alzheimer's if they occur more frequently than they should. But there are a few curable explanations for why people forget things.
The following are some common causes:
- Perhaps the most common unrecognised cause of forgetfulness is not getting enough sleep. In addition to mood swings and anxiety, memory issues can result from not getting enough regular sleep.
- Depression can show up as suffocating sadness, a lack of motivation, and less enjoyment of activities that you typically find enjoyable. Another symptom of depression, or one of its effects, is forgetfulness.
- Memory issues can be caused by anything that makes it challenging to focus and retain new knowledge and abilities. The symptoms are stress and worry. Both have the ability to divert attention and prevent the forming of fresh memories or their recovery.
- Even after the effects of alcohol have worn off, excessive alcohol use might cause problems with short-term memory.
Memory loss brought due to medical conditions
Serious problems with memory might be brought on by specific medical conditions. When a person receives treatment, these issues are supposed to go away. The following medical conditions can affect memory:
- Brain tumours, blood clots, or infections.
- Various thyroid, kidney, and liver conditions.
- A brain injury brought on by a fall or other mishap.
- Not eating enough nutritious food or having insufficient amounts of certain vitamins and minerals in the body, like vitamin B12.
- Side effects of medication.
- Memory loss brought on by psychological problems
A person may become more forgetful due to emotional issues like stress, worry, or sadness, which might be misinterpreted as dementia. For instance, someone who has recently retired or is adjusting to the loss of a spouse, family, or friend may feel depressed, lonely, anxious, or bored. Some people experience confusion or forgetfulness while attempting to cope with these life transitions. Usually, emotional disorientation and amnesia are temporary and disappear when the feelings subside. Friends and relatives who are willing to provide a hand can assist with emotional issues, but if they persist for more than two weeks, it's necessary to seek medical attention or counselling. Counselling, medicine, or a combination of both may be used as treatment. A person's mood may be lifted, and memory can be strengthened by staying active and picking up new skills.
Can the cause of forgetfulness be diagnosed using tests?
Your doctor can diagnose the root of your amnesia using a number of different methods. These consist of:
- Blood testing to diagnose different diseases.
- Neurological tests to assess speech, perceptions, spatial awareness, and reflexes.
- Cognitive assessment, which includes memory, attention, and recall tests.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the brain.
- Psychometric testing to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and calibre of mental processes.
- Positron-emission tomography (PET) scan of the brain.
Treatment for forgetfulness
When discussing memory loss treatment or memory loss medication, it is important to consider some simple behavioural management strategies to assist in adjusting to these changes, particularly as short-term memory loss treatment:
- Improve your nutrition and general fitness.
- Reduce or manage stress more effectively.
- Enhance sleep habits and consider recommending sleep medications if necessary.
- Take dietary supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, that promote brain health.
- Consider changing prescription drugs that may impair memory.
- Treat diseases that haven't been diagnosed before.
- Address any ongoing diseases that continue to cause cognitive issues.
- Consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a form of therapy that aids in the recovery from head trauma.
Preventing memory loss and forgetfulness
For the health of the brain, a healthy lifestyle is crucial. You might be able to reduce memory loss and lessen forgetfulness by doing the following things:
- Healthy eating - Promote the consumption of foods that protect the brain, such as fish, poultry, almonds, and green leafy vegetables, while discouraging the consumption of processed meals and foods high in sugar and saturated fat.
- Exercise - Even low-impact exercises, such as daily 30-minute walks five days a week, might be beneficial.
- Staying active cognitively - Try engaging in cognitively stimulating activities such as reading articles or books, exploring new places, solving puzzles, or picking up a new hobby.
- Socialising - A lack of social support might result in despair and harmful stress. Strong relationships can help you feel better and minimise stress.
Treatment of Forgetfulness at Hinduja Hospital
The Hinduja Hospital offers state-of-the-art care for the treatment of dementia or Alzheimer's, making it the best facility for neurological, psychiatric, and neurosurgical therapies. The interdisciplinary team of highly qualified and experienced physicians, specialists, nurses, and assistants puts in a lot of effort to accurately identify and treatment of forgetfulness in Mumbai. The department provides a variety of imaging exams, including CT, MRI, PET, and neurosonology studies, to identify and treat brain problems. Once you arrive at our hospital, there is no need for you to be concerned since you will receive top-notch care without any inconvenience.
Q1. What causes forgetting most frequently?
Ans. While there are numerous reasons why people forget things, sleep deprivation is a key factor. Changing your sleeping patterns could make you less forgetful.
Q2. When may forgetfulness be a cause for concern?
Ans. You should consult your healthcare practitioner if you often forget items you used to be able to recall, such as names or addresses. There is usually no need to worry if you periodically lose track of your keys or forget the reason you entered a place.
Q3. Is forgetfulness a permanent or temporary condition?
Ans. The memory loss might only last a short while before disappearing. Alternatively, it could persist and, based on the underlying reason, might worsen with time. Severe memory loss may make it difficult to carry out everyday tasks.