Memory loss or forgetfulness is a common sign as we grow older. We experience physiological changes that cause glitch in brain function. The hormones and proteins that protect and repair brain cell as well as stimulate neural growth will be reduced with time.
Memory loss can include: difficulty remembering a recent event, finding it hard to follow conversation or TV program, forgetting friends' name or objects, repeating yourself and feeling anxious, depressed.
Memory loss should not be ignored
In the current urban life memory loss is a problem that affects most of people. Even it’s the occasional or loss short-term memory that may interrupt your daily life. People suffer from memory loss should not delay seeking for help. The sooner people seek help, the sooner they get recovery.
Reversible causes of memory loss
It is important to be aware of ways that your health, environment, and lifestyle may contribute to memory loss. Sometimes, even what looks like significant memory loss can be caused by treatable conditions and reversible external factors.
• Side effects of medication: Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs or combinations of drugs can cause cognitive problems and memory loss as a side effect. This is especially common in older adults because they break down and absorb medication more slowly. Common medications that affect memory and brain function include sleeping pills, blood pressure and arthritis medication, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, and painkillers.
• Depression: makes it hard for you to concentrate, stay organized, remember things, and get stuff done. Depression is a common problem in older adults. Especially if they’re less social and active than they used to be or they’ve recently experienced a number of important losses or major life changes.
• Vitamin B12 deficiency: Vitamin B12 plays important role for an active brain. It protects neurons and is vital to healthy brain functioning. In fact, a lack of B12 can cause permanent damage to the brain. Older people have a slower nutritional absorption rate, which can make it difficult for them to get the B12 your mind and body need. If you smoke or drink, you may be at particular risk. If you address a vitamin B12 deficiency early, you can reverse the associated memory problems.
• Thyroid problems: The thyroid gland controls metabolism: if your metabolism is too fast, you may feel confused, and if it’s too slow, you can feel sluggish and depressed. Thyroid problems can cause memory problems such as forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating.
• Alcohol abuse: Excessive alcohol intake is toxic to brain cells, and alcohol abuse leads to memory loss. Over time, alcohol abuse may also increase the risk of dementia.
• Dehydration: Older adults are particularly susceptible to dehydration. Severe dehydration can cause confusion, drowsiness, memory loss, and other symptoms that look like dementia. It’s important to stay hydrated (aim for 6-8 drinks per day). Be particularly vigilant if you take diuretics or laxatives or suffer from diabetes, high blood sugar, or diarrhoea
Preventing memory loss and cognitive decline
The same practices that contribute to healthy aging and physical vitality also contribute to healthy memory.
• Exercise regularly: Regular exercise boosts brain growth factors and encourages the development of new brain cells. Exercise also reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Exercise also makes a huge difference in managing stress and alleviating anxiety and depression—all of which leads to a healthier brain.
• Stay social: People who don’t have social contact with family and friends are at higher risk for memory problems than people who have strong social ties. Social interaction helps brain function in several ways: it often involves activities that challenge the mind, and it helps ward off stress and depression. So join a book club, reconnect with old friends, or visit the local senior center. Being with other people will help keep you sharp!
• Watch what you eat: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink green tea as these foods contain antioxidants in abundance, which can keep your brain cells from “rusting.” Foods rich in omega-3 fats (such as salmon, tuna, trout, walnuts, and flaxseed) are particularly good for your brain and memory. Eating too many calories, though, can increase your risk of developing memory loss or cognitive impairment. Also avoid saturated and trans fats, which can help your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of stroke.
• Manage stress: the stress hormone damages the brain over time and can lead to memory problems.
• Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, the process of forming and storing new memories so you can retrieve them later. Sleep deprivation also reduces the growth of new neurons and causes problems with memory, concentration, and decision-making and even lead to depression.
• Don’t smoke. Smoking heightens the risk of vascular disorders that can cause stroke and constrict arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain.
Memory loss in young adults
Memory loss is something that is usually associated with old age; however, it's possible for people of any age to experience problems with their memory. Memory loss in young adults and children can occur for a variety of reasons.
• Brain infections: Diseases like encephalitis and meningitis can be extremely common in young adults.
• Head trauma: from accidents and injuries can cause amnesia, a loss of memory temporarily or permanently depending on the severity of the injury.
• Mental health - Some mental health conditions like schizophrenia and depression can cause some memory loss in young adults.
• Alcohol or drug abuse - The excessive consumption of alcohol and abuse of drugs can cause memory loss.
• Malnutrition - Though it is rare, vitamin B deficiencies can cause memory loss due to malnutrition.