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Not all memory loss is Alzheimer's

One of the biggest fears as we age is memory loss. As soon as you notice you’re beginning to forget things, it’s always a good idea to mention this to your doctor.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behaviour. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. It worsens over time, but there are treatments that can temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms and improve the quality of life.

However, not all memory loss means you’re getting Alzheimer’s. There are reversible forms of memory loss, and there are causes for it:

  1. Depression and stress – People who suffer with depression have most likely experienced moments of forgetfulness and disorientation. And just as with depression, stress can cause temporary memory loss. When someone is tense and distracted, the ability to remember even minor things can be affected.

  2. Medication – Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause memory loss, such is the case with antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, some pain medication after surgery, and even antihistamines, sleeping pills, and muscle relaxants. Tobacco and alcohol use can also have a negative effect on one’s memory, especially with over-use and when combined with stress.

  3. Sleep issues – Sleep deprivation, both in quantity and quality of sleep, can severely affect memory and the ability to retrieve information.

  4. Thyroid disease – Those affected with hypothyroidism will most often suffer with memory loss at certain times.

  5. Nutritional deficiencies – High-quality fats and proteins are important for proper brain function. A person who is on a strict diet or omitting certain necessary nutrients – such as vitamin B1 or B12, is more likely to suffer with memory loss.

Finding help

You are more likely to be the first to realize you’re suffering with some form of memory loss. Don’t wait until a larger issue occurs. Speak with your doctor, and also with a nutritionist or naturopath who can best explain what you should be eating for proper brain function, illness prevention, and good health.•

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