"Even though memory loss is more common as you age, it is not part of normal aging," says Dr. Gad Marshall, associate medical director of the Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment, a program affiliated with Harvard University. That said, let’s explore some common causes of memory loss.
Even if you're accustomed to a high amount of stress, that doesn't mean it's healthy. Humans are resilient, and we can handle pressure in short bursts of time, but when it's constant, it can cause harm. Frequent and prolonged stress can make it harder to focus and take in new information. (Acknowledge the stress of surviving a pandemic!) If you're feeling anxious or depressed, talking with a trusted friend or therapist may provide insight to improve your memory loss and lessen your stress.
Do you have any health issues, treated or untreated? Might there be an underlying health concern that runs in your family? Are you deficient in vitamin B-12? If you're not sure, schedule a visit with your doctor, who may recommend specific blood work or tests. Conditions like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, thyroid levels, or diabetes can cause forgetfulness, and so can some prescribed medications. Discuss all medications and potential side effects with your doctor.
Are you sleeping well? Not enough sleep and poor sleep quality can cause memory loss. Experiment with healthy habits that prepare you for rest. Sipping a cup of herbal tea while reading a book in your favorite chair or taking a warm bath are calming ways to prepare before going to sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours of sound sleep nightly. Has a loved one ever suggested you might have sleep apnea? If so, your doctor can prescribe tests to determine if this might be a solution.
Have you experienced head trauma? Report any falls to your doctor. A minor accident like slipping on a sidewalk or hitting your head on a cabinet can cause memory loss. Do you consume alcohol? Limit to one glass of wine per day, if at all.
Find a good doctor, schedule your annual visit, and reach out if you notice any health changes. If you occasionally misplace your keys, it's likely not serious. However, if you get lost while driving a regular route with those keys, that is likely serious.
The Alzheimer's Association strongly recommends calling your doctor if you have difficulty completing familiar tasks you used to do every day easily. Make sure you communicate honestly with your doctor "Often, memory loss that disrupts your life is one of the first or more recognizable signs of dementia." Early diagnosis is essential for the very best results.
Finally, have you considered taking brain supplements for brain health? If you have trouble paying attention or continually get distracted, this is another question to ask yourself. You can take this step to prevent memory loss and strengthen your brainpower for the best brain health possible.
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