Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disorder that is characterized by forgetfulness, memory loss, and behavioral changes. Although Alzheimer’s disease is still relatively common amongst the elderly, its prevalence is on the decline and frequent memory loss isn’t necessarily indicative of early Alzheimer’s. In fact, there are numerous causes of forgetfulness and memory loss and many of them are easily treatable. So before you start to panic over your inability to remember where you put your glasses or to recall what you just read, consider the following non-Alzheimer related causes of memory loss.
Medications Causing Memory Problems
Certain prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs can result in memory loss and combining drugs results in a greater likelihood for this side-effect to occur. The most common medications that can cause forgetfulness include: antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, painkillers, blood pressure medications, arthritis drugs, sleeping pills and antihistamines.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is a vital nutrient that is required for the maintenance of a healthy nervous system. A B12 deficiency can cause numerous symptoms which mimic Alzheimer’s including progressive confusion, forgetfulness and memory loss. In fact, if left untreated, a B12 deficiency can become so severe that you forget the names of your close relatives or can’t recall what you have done earlier in that day. Although most people obtain adequate B12 through their diets, vegetarianism, alcoholism, smoking, absorption issues and certain medications can cause a B12 deficiency. If you suspect you may be deficient, your doctor can perform a simple blood test in order to determine your B12 levels, and supplements or B12 injections can help to restore them to normal if you are found to be deficient.
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Although many people don’t realize it, depression can cause many of the same cognitive symptoms as Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, depression can cause forgetful and make it difficult to concentrate, keep organized, get stuff done and remember things. Unfortunately, depression is relatively common in the elderly, so if you experience frequent forgetfulness in conjunction with feelings of melancholy, you may want to speak to your healthcare practitioner about your symptoms.
As you age, you become more susceptible to dehydration, and diabetes, diuretics, laxatives, and blood sugar issues can all increase your susceptibility. If the dehydration becomes severe it can cause memory loss, exhaustion, confusion and forgetfulness. In order to prevent dehydration and the consequent symptoms, you should consume 6 to 8 cups of fluid daily.
Thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism are quite common in the elderly and approximately 20 percent of women over sixty have some form of thyroid disease. Although the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, sluggishness, weight gain and exhaustion, thyroid problems can also cause memory loss, forgetfulness, and difficulty maintaining focus. Unfortunately, thyroid disorders often remain undiagnosed and many people mistake their cognitive issues as a natural part of aging, when it is actually the result of a thyroid malfunction. So if you have unexplained memory loss or forgetfulness that is not associated with the above common causes then you may want to consider the possibility of a thyroid disorder.