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Is it Dementia, or Just Memory Loss?

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Is it Dementia, or Just Memory Loss?

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As we age, there is a certain amount of memory loss that is normal, and there is some memory loss that points to a bigger issue. Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand the subtle differences. That’s why we put together the following examples of normal memory loss and signs of dementia:

Normal Memory Loss:

  • Brain-fdp-smokedsalmonDifficulty recalling new information
  • Forgetting where you put your keys or your phone, but then being able to retrace your steps to find the item
  • Walking into a room and forgetting why you went in there
  • Not remembering something you wanted to say (occasionally)
  • Not being able to come up with the word(s) you need to communicate what you are thinking (every once in a while)
  • You remember that you were at an event and some vague details but you don’t remember the whole thing

Signs of Dementia:

  • Forgetting where you are or how you got there
  • Forgetting how to cook something you’ve always made
  • Not remembering if you just ate
  • Not remembering where you live
  • Being told that you’ve asked the same question several times
  • Forgetting to put shoes on before going outside
  • Constantly forgetting important appointments
  • Having more trouble remembering how to handle money than usual, like balancing a checkbook or preparing a budget
  • Not being able to retrace your steps to find something you’ve misplaced
  • Being unable to come up with the word(s) you need to communicate what you are thinking (frequently)
  • You don’t remember that you went to an event at all
  • Being unable to follow simple directions
  • Neglecting personal hygiene and safety

The above lists can serve as a guide for you, but don’t take our word for it! Every person is different, and it is always best to be checked out by a doctor if you are experiencing memory loss that is out of the ordinary for you.

If you are experiencing any of the memory issues from the “Signs of Dementia” list, that doesn’t mean you are developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. While that could be the reason, there are a number of other reasons as well, such as: stress, depression, medication side effects, alcoholism, dehydration, stroke, a protein deficiency, a vitamin B12 deficiency, a magnesium deficiency or the result of a head injury. Your doctor can help you determine what the cause might be for you.

 

Sources:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/alzheimers/normal-memory-loss-or-dementia.aspx

http://www.fightdementia.org.au/understanding-dementia/memory-changes.aspx

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/forgetfulness

 Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net, smokedsalmon