Loss of Memory- Signs of Dementia?

Memory loss is a common sign of dementia, but it can also be caused by other factors such as alcohol abuse, high blood pressure, and emotional trauma. Learn about the early warning signs of dementia and how to test for memory loss with the SLUMS and MMSE tests.

Loss of Memory- Signs of Dementia?
Is the Loss of Memory the Sign of Dementia?

A loss of memory is the most common and obvious signs of dementia. It is important to rule other possible causes. The best way to tell if the memory loss is associated with any decline in the brain functions … is if more dementia symptoms are present. If these extra symptoms are not present, then it could be due to another medical condition. Treatment would require action different from the treatment for dementia.

Additional Signs of Dementia

While other symptoms may not arrive for a number of months or even years… the loss of memory is one of the first signs of dementia. It goes untreated. People assume that the loss of memory is due to their increased age and the normal aging process. They prefer this rather than anything more sinister.

The following memory lapses are not considered normal. They could be the initial signs of dementia:

  • Repetition – Many adult children hear their parents telling the same stories over and over again. Over the course of a lifetime and as a person gets much older… their opportunity for new experiences is reduced. So they will naturally revisit old stories. A key sign of dementia … is to have the same story or repeated phrase in the same conversation or within a very short period.
  • Simple tasks – Finding it hard to keep new simple information. This can be such as a change in transport times or an online password. These are instances of normal loss of memory. The inability to perform simple tasks that have been repeated many times… such as paying a bill or washing up after a meal… is a sign that the long-term memory stores in the brain are becoming damaged.
  • Sense of direction – Many people of all ages become lost or disoriented in new situations. Some, become disoriented under certain circumstances such as fog or dBut. However, dementia patients will find themselves unable to recognize their surroundings. Even in familiar locations. They may find it hard to remember landmarks that will point them in the right direction.

Other Possible Causes of Memory Loss

If the loss of memory is not associated with other factors… another medical condition might be causing the memory loss. A doctor will have access to a patient’s full medical history. But the patient may not share their problems that cause memory loss with friends and family such as:

  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol causes your body to produce high levels of anti-toxins. These remain in the blood stream long after the alcohol has been broken down. They cause damage to your brain cells. Typically they target the hippocampus. This is where your brain stores long term memory. This is why alcoholics find it hard to remember what they did the night before. long-term alcohol abuse will destroy their long-term memories.
  • High blood pressure causes bursting blood vessels in the brain causes a stroke. It strikes at the motor and language areas of the brain initially. But can also affect the long and short-term memory resulting in memory loss.
  • The brain has a way of protecting itself against any painful memories or damage to it. This can be why people who have suffered emotional trauma may “forget” about it. And why physical trauma such as a blow to the head can be forgotten.

Each of the above factors may not be common knowledge. They may have happened a long time ago or they may be something that the sufferer does not want to discuss. If you have concerns about someone’s loss of memory do not be afraid to express them. Early intervention may delay the debilitating effects of dementia.

Testing for Memory Loss

For some people, testing for memory loss is not important. Many have friends and family that notice differences in their responses. Or in their day-to-day routine. However, it is important to undertake regular dementia testing, as you get older. To catch any early warning signs. The SLUMS ( Saint Louis University Mental Status test)

and the Mini Mental Status (MMSE)

At home you can do this form of a simple memory test of what you have done in the previous day. Getting people to quiz you on certain long-term memories… or taking online memory tests for arbitrary bits of information. You will need to find a way to record your progress. As it is very hard for an individual to monitor his or her own memory loss.

The important thing about a loss of memory is … that at certain times, as you get older, forgetting things is entirely natural. And part of the aging process. These include forgetting new information, names or where you left things.

If you have any concerns that you may be developing dementia… you should talk to your doctor . They are able to give you clinical diagnostic tests. And can prescribe medication, if necessary, to help slow down any symptoms.

Have more questions? Check out the Frequently Asked Question section of the website. You will find a lot of different questions answered directly.
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