Introduction to Cognitive Decline and Memory Loss
Memory loss is a common problem that can affect people of all ages and is one of the components of a Syndrome called Dementia. It can be mild or severe and can be caused by different factors, stroke, brain infection like meningitis, Hypertension causing rupture of small vessels in your brain, diabetes, and high cholesterol making blood flow difficult to the brain via small and large vessels, including certain common medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and various commonly prescribed medications like Lipitor and omeprazole.
Types of Memory Loss
There are two main types of memory loss:
Short-term and Long-term. As the term self describes: Short-term memory loss is when you can't remember new information for more than a few minutes or hours. It is often temporary and can be caused by excessive stress, Concussion, prolonged sleep deprivation, attention deficit disorder where you don’t focus too long to register in your memory, or drinking excessive alcohol.
Long-term memory loss is when you can't remember events or information from the past. It is more serious and can be caused by brain damage, neurological disorders, or medical conditions like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsonism, Lewy body dementia, or vascular dementia.
Causes of Memory Loss
Age-related memory decline is a common cause of memory loss which is the most common sign of Dementia. As we get older, we lose approximately 15% of brain cells by age 65 and, our brains naturally lose some of their function, including memory. This type of memory loss is usually mild and slowly progressing with age, but it can be severe in some cases when having other comorbid conditions.
Stress, anxiety, and ADHD can also cause memory loss because they can interfere with the brain's ability to process and remember new information. Chronic stress can damage the part of the brain responsible for memory known as the hippocampus.
Some medications, such as sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs, Anti-Acid drugs, or cholesterol-lowering medications can cause memory loss as a side effect. This is usually reversible when you stop taking the medication.
Brain injuries like concussions and medical conditions like stroke, brain infection, and epilepsy can also cause memory loss.
Whenever an aging brain gets insults like infection, dehydration, or fall they usually get confused because they suddenly cross the threshold number of neurons to keep the day-to-day working of memory, and usually after the insult their neurons further decrease to a new low level. Each insult like infection, or falls in the future makes the elderly brain worse as neurons are lost with no regeneration and these insults expedite memory loss.
Prevention and Treatment of Memory Loss
There are ways to help prevent or improve memory loss. You can stay active physically and mentally, get enough sleep, and eat a healthy diet with Nuts once or twice a week, fresh fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Unlike other parts of the body which use glucose brain uses ketones as food for day-to-day work. MCT oil especially MCT-8 which gives brain cells their food -Ketones and a few herbal medications like Ashwagandha and others have been studied with positive results. Doing activities that challenge the brain, like wordles/puzzles/chess or learning something new, can also help improve memory.
Most importantly we tend to lose memory when we tend to be isolated, or depressed and decreased sensations received by the brain, for example, we can have an 80% higher chance to lose memory if we have hearing or vision loss. Less stimulation of brain cells leads to early degeneration of brain cells.
In severe cases, treatment may be necessary. This can include medications like Aricept to slow the progression of memory loss or Cognitive training therapy to help people cope with memory loss and improve their memory skills with time.
Difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Dementia is a syndrome that encompasses a wide range of symptoms including but not limited to memory loss and hard to remember things, loss of clear thinking, ability to make decisions and control emotions, and the inability for an individual to perform daily activities of living without external support.
Worthy to note that dementia is not a disease by itself, and the occurrence of dementia symptoms is caused by various conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular disease, etc. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease are often confused, but they are quite different.
Dementia is not a disease itself, but rather a group of symptoms that can be caused by various conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, vascular disease, and more. On the other hand, Alzheimer's disease is a specific neurodegenerative disease of the brain that is diagnosed through brain scans and blood tests.
It is named after the German scientist Aloïs Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906. A patient with Alzheimer's disease may not exhibit any symptoms in the early stages, but as the disease progresses, it can lead to dementia-like symptoms such as memory loss and difficulty thinking clearly.
While Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases in the United States, it is important to note that there are other potential causes of dementia as well.
Memory loss can be caused by a variety of medical and psychological factors, and it is important to pay attention to changes in your memory and seek treatment if needed.
Conclusion and Reccomendations
To prevent or improve memory loss, it is important to maintain an active lifestyle and eat a healthy diet rich in vitamin B12. Avoiding alcohol, which can lead to neuron loss, and avoiding head concussions can also help. If you or a loved one are experiencing memory loss symptoms, the team at Quality Primary Care can help. Our certified rater, Dr. Suresh Malik, has the medical expertise to diagnose and treat early dementia and prevent further loss of brain cells. Book an appointment online or over the phone today.