Memory Loss – Normal or a Concern?

It’s just a fact of life that memory will decline as we age. Life overwhelms us with work schedules, personal commitments, taking care of our family, etc. With so much going on, it’s no wonder things easily slip our minds. But do you find yourself wondering: what is a normal memory lapse and when should I worry?

The short answer is: you should worry when memory loss begins to interrupt the regular tasks in your life. Memory can be dangerous as those affected can find themselves lost and confused. As in all ailments, the key is to get ahead of any disease for best outcome.

Normal Memory Lapses

  • Sometimes forgetting where you left things you use regularly, such as glasses or keys
  • Forgetting names of acquaintances or blocking one memory with a similar one, such as calling a grandson by your son’s name
  • Occasionally forgetting an appointment or walking into a room and forgetting why you entered
  • Becoming easily distracted or having trouble remembering what you’ve just read, or the details of a conversation
  • Not quite being able to retrieve information that’s on the tip of your tongue

Signs You Should See a Doctor About Your Forgetfulness

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s

Dementia is a syndrome, not a disease. Dementia is a group of symptoms that affects mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning. Dementia is the term applied to a group of symptoms that negatively impact memory, but Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease of the brain that slowly causes impairment in memory and cognitive function. The exact causes of dementia are still uncertain, and while there is no cure, many experimental procedures are advancing the science around finding a cure for cognitive diseases.

If you are concerned about your or a loved one's memory, please talk first with a primary care physician. We're here for you.

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