Forgetfulness and memory problems are normal parts of aging. However, there are also memory-related warning signs and symptoms that someone may have early dementia — and you shouldn’t ignore these symptoms. With treatment and early diagnosis, you can slow the progression of the disease and maintain mental function.
Causes of Memory Loss
Dementia isn’t the only health issue that can lead to forgetfulness. Memory loss can happen at any age and for a number of reasons. Here are some of the more common things that can cause reversible memory loss:
- Alcohol, tobacco, or drug use
- Sleep deprivation
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- Nutritional deficiency
- Minor head trauma or injury
Other possible causes of memory loss include an underactive or overactive thyroid gland and infections such as HIV, tuberculosis, and syphilis that affect the brain.
Finding the Cause of Memory Loss
If you're concerned about memory loss, see your doctor. There are tests to determine the degree of memory impairment and diagnose the cause.
Getting a prompt diagnosis is important, even if it's challenging. Identifying a reversible cause of memory impairment enables you to get appropriate treatment. Also, an early diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder is beneficial because you can:
- Begin treatments to manage symptoms
- Educate yourself and loved ones about the disease
- Determine future care preferences
- Identify care facilities or at-home care options
- Settle financial or legal matters
Still wondering if you should schedule an appointment with your doctor? Complete this quiz to find out if you are experiencing normal age-related memory loss or the early signs of dementia.
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