Memory loss


Memory loss

Memory loss can be partial or total and it is normal when it comes with aging. Sudden memory loss is usually a result of brain trauma and it may be permanent or temporary. When it is caused by medical conditions such as Alzheimers, the memory loss is gradual and tends to be permanent.

Brain trauma is not the only factor that can cause sudden memory loss. It may appear as a side effect of statin drugs that are used as treatment for those who have hypercholesterolemia. Major causes of sudden loss of memory are strokes. Other causes are long lasting and recurrent illnesses such as meningitisor epilepsy . Mermory loss temporary or permanent can also result from chemical imbalances, exposure to toxic substances, allergies or vitamin deficiencies.

Contents

Symptoms

From forgetting dates and names, running errands and forgetting their purpose, easily getting lost, to having difficulties in performing familiar tasks such as driving or baking, symptoms of memory loss vary from person to person. They usually occur gradually and may vary in intensity depending on what is causing the condition.

Confusion or decreased alertness may be the first symptom of memory loss and also of a serious illness, particularly in older adults.[1]

The most worrying symptoms are not those related to things that people forget to do. Some patients may have problems in mixing up 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.

Whether an individual suffers from memory loss is not decided only based on one's symptoms. In order to diagnose the condition a doctor will obtain a detailed medical history of the patient. The patient will also undergo several neuropsychological tests that will focus on his or her memory functions. Several other medical exams such as an electroencephalography, an MRI, or a CT scan can be performed in order to establish an accurate diagnosis.

The main type of memory loss is short term memory. Short term memory is memory from just seconds to minutes ago.

Prevention

Sudden trauma cannot really be foreseen by anyone so there is no actual way in which one could prevent this condition. However, as the most common causes of memory loss are brain traumas (especially those resulting from head injury), people should take some preventative measures, such as wearing a seat belt while driving or a helmet while biking.[2]

Eating nutritious foods and reducing stress can prevent in some way the symptoms of the condition. Avoiding risk factors such as abusing alcohol or being exposed to toxic chemicals may also help. People that have high blood pressure have an increased risk for strokes and therefore for memory loss. They should try keeping their blood pressure under control and if possible adjust their life style by quitting smoking and exercising more.

Sudden memory loss cannot be prevented but patients who experience the symptoms of memory loss due to aging may keep their brain cells healthy and active with different exercises and dietary supplements. However, although some dietary choices and lifestyle changes are suggested, it has not yet been proved to what extent these may reduce the risks of a person to develop memory loss, especially due to aging.

Some specialists recommend that patients drink as much water they can for better hydration. Moreover, sleep deprivation and stress are thought to impact the proper functioning of the brain cells. Therefore, one should get enough rest and avoid stressful activities.

Socializing is also believed to be beneficial for individuals who may develop memory loss.[3]

Nonetheless, 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.[4] Each of these supplements may help in a way or another in maintaining the cells of the brain vigorous and healthy. For instance, garlic is thought to be the brain cell protector and which is considered helpful in cases of memory loss caused by aging. Also, multivitamin and mineral complexes provide the necessary nutrients for the body and brain cells and remove the harmful free radicals. Lecithin is well known for its special properties of improving memory as well as boron, a substance that may enhance the memory function of the brain. Gingko and vitamin C with bioflavonoid are effective in increasing the blood flow to the brain which is in the end beneficial for the cells and therefore the memory.[citation needed]

Patients whose memory loss is bothersome to the extent that it becomes an issue are encouraged to establish a routine and follow it. Making lists and associations, keeping a detailed calendar as well as always putting important objects in the same place might also help them in remembering more easily and faster.[5] It has been brought to attention that people who develop mild symptoms of memory loss are more likely to prevent the worsening of the condition if they train their mind by playing strategy games, puzzle, word games or number puzzles and reading. Basically, stimulating the brain can help patients slow down the processes that cause memory loss.

Treatment

Memory loss can't be treated unless it is caused by a reversible condition. The treatment is greatly dependent on the primary cause of the condition. When memory loss is a symptom of a more severe disease, it may be reversed as soon as the underlying condition is identified and cured. Memory loss due to aging cannot be cured but the symptoms may be improved by following the prevention measures.

Treating mild cases of memory loss may consist of herbal medications or a change in lifestyle.[6] The other dietary supplements along with good quality and long sleep and avoiding potential risk factors may also improve the general status of the patient.

Family support plays an important role in treating memory loss. Family members are usually encouraged to take special orientation classes on how to cope with their sick relatives and how to help them improve their condition.

Pathology

The memory is affected by the damage that may occur in the different parts of the brain such as medial temporal lobe, hippocampus, cortex and frontal lobes. Injuring any of these areas may lead to specific disruptions in the processes of acquiring and restoring memory. For instance, damage to the medial temporal lobe and hippocampus can devastate the ability to acquire new declarative memory whereas damage to the storage areas in cortex can disrupt retrieval of old memories and interfere with acquisition of new memories.[7]

References

  1. ^ Confusion, Memory Loss, and Altered Alertness Retrieved on 2010-03-10
  2. ^ Sudden Memory Loss Causes and Diagnosis Retrieved on 2010-03-10
  3. ^ "Information About Memory Loss - Causes, Symptoms and Supplementation". http://www.healthynewage.com/memory.html. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  4. ^ "Information About Memory Loss - Causes, Symptoms and Supplementation". http://www.healthynewage.com/memory.html. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  5. ^ "Memory Loss With Aging: What's Normal, What's Not". http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/seniors/common-older/124.html. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  6. ^ "Memory Loss Treatment". http://www.suddenmemoryloss.net/treatment.html. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  7. ^ "Memory". http://www.memorylossonline.com/glossary/memory.html. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 

External links

See also


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