Forgetting your keys is not always a sign of Alzheimer's disease or other form of Dementia. However, forgetting where they are only to find them in their normal place or somewhere very odd, such as a freezer, may be something to get medically checked out.
The good news is that not all memory loss means that you have dementia or that it is permanent. There are forms of cognitive loss related to vitamin deficiencies, medications, or other medical issues that could be discovered with proper clinical evaluation.
Reversible forms of Memory Loss:
D - Drugs
E - Emotional changes
M - Metabolic conditions
E - Eyes and Ears
N - Nutrition
T - Tumors
I - Infection
A - Alcohol
D - Drugs can have interactions with each other or have side effects that can cause temporary cognitive issues. This is most prevalent when prescribed medications are used in conjunction with over-the-counter medications. If you are noticing memory loss, take notice of all medications being taken such as vitamins, supplements, allergy or cold relief, etc. and present this information to a physician or pharmacist for assistance.
E - Emotional Changes related to stress, loss of a loved one, life change or depression can trigger temporary cognitive loss. This is a result of the brain providing a natural safeguard to shelter the person from additional mental overload. By working through these issues or getting professional help, most will see their cognitive recall return fully.
M - Metabolic Conditions such as thyroid disease, hypoglycemia, or even kidney failure can cause memory loss due to abnormal chemical processes in the body. If the underlying disease is treated the cognitive loss is typically reversible, but if left untreated could be permanent. This is why Dementia211.com strongly advises to seek medical attention when you first notice memory loss, so that every effort to treat can be made.
E - Eyes and Ears for many people it's embarrassing to admit that we can see or hear as well as we once did. However, as a result we may not be participating in conversations as much or responding as correctly as we once were. We may not see to drive or read instructions very well and as result miss key points that cause others to become concerned and think we are losing it. Staying on top of our glass's prescriptions and/or wearing hearing aids is a simple way to ensure that you are on top of your cognitive health and participating in all that life has to offer.
N - Nutrition it is very important to eat and drink a well-balanced diet. This means eating a rainbow of food that includes fruits and vegetables, while also staying hydrated with water throughout the day. Without it our body feels starved and will begin to reduce functions, targeting our cognition and making our brains feel muted.
T - Tumors, especially brain tumors, are something that no one can see with the human eye, which is why it is important to have the proper medical testing to rule out this possibility.
I - Infection any type of bacteria or virus in the body can cause temporary cognitive decline, especially if a fever is present. Even the common urinary tract infection can cause confusion, especially in those over the age of 65. The good news is that with proper treatment this type of memory loss is typically short-lived.
A - Alcohol depending on the amount consumed, can cause memory loss at any age. However, those who are on multiple medications or on a medication which warns against alcohol consumption may see this enhanced confusion after even one glass of wine or bottle of beer. Therefore, it is important to be honest with the physician about the amount of alcohol consumed on a regular basis, so that they can work with you to prevent such interactions.
If you or a loved one is experiencing memory loss that is affecting daily life, please make an immediate appointment with a physician and if necessary, ask for a referral to memory clinic. A memory clinic is able to provide comprehensive testing that may include blood work, cognitive evaluation, personal history discussion, brain scans and more which are able to fully diagnose what may be happening.
In Wisconsin, where Dementia211.com is based, we have a variety of memory clinics, which can be found by clicking here. Each of these diagnostic memory clinics are supported by our local Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, which is one of 31 Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers supported by the National Institute of Aging across the United States.
It is important to get a proper diagnosis early so that if the memory loss is related to one of the above issues it can be caught, treated, and quality of life restored. If it is determined to be dementia, then a plan of action can be created to help all involved to focus on care and quality of life.
In that event, please consider booking a Dementia211.com consultation session. It would be an honor to help create a personalized plan that strives for the highest quality of life, filled with personalized moments of joy for all involved.