As a person begins to age, it’s reasonable to forget little everyday things. For instance, you may forget where you put the car keys, or the clothes may be left in the washer overnight. Forgetfulness is not uncommon to an aging crowd. However, if it goes beyond a couple of things here or there, then it’s something that must be investigated.
Ten Things That Can Cause Forgetfulness
Forgetfulness can happen for a variety of reasons, and some things need to be evaluated by your doctors. A few simple instances of leaving the house unlocked or forgetting to turn off the curling iron may be typical. However, sometimes they are a signal that something is going on that is more malignant.
Dementia is a disease that affects the brain. It disturbs memory, rational thinking, and it causes significant impairment to life. What’s often confusing about this condition is that it’s not specific. Instead, many disorders make up this condition.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a common form of dementia seen in people over 60, but it’s just one cause. Since thinking, behavior, and memory are all involved, a person’s quality of life is significantly inhibited. There are three stages of this disease, which are early, middle, and late.
The early stages may show just mild memory impairment, but a person can still function. As an individual progresses to the middle stage, they often become moody or withdrawn. They may also have a hard time recollecting details about the current life. One of the hallmarks is they want to go home even when they are sitting in their living room.
They will lose control of their bladder and bowels as well as tend to wander at sundown. The final stage is where they cannot recognize the face of their loved one or remember their name. Most will lose their ability to communicate and require 24-hour care. Alzheimer’s Disease is a cruel condition that leaves one’s body functioning, but their brain is unable to remember their current or past life.
Sadly, a person can live with this horrible condition that robs them of their memory for up to 20 years. There is no cure for this memory impairment, but some medications and therapies have shown promising results in slowing the progression.
2. Decreased Cognitive Function
Several conditions can cause a cognitive decline. One of the most common is diabetes. When a person has diabetes, they may have too much sugar in their system. The excessive sugar can cause blurry vision, headaches, and a cognitive decline.
Other things, like improper nutrition, can also cause a problem with cognitive function. Since there are so many reasons that can cause this issue, it must be investigated if it continues.
Depression is a mental health concern that can be caused by various conditions. It can either be circumstantial, or it can be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. A person that is depressed will often forget things that would have never slipped their mind previously.
When a person is in a depressive state, they may have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, their focus and concentration may not be what it once was, and they have a difficult time living life as they once knew it. Thankfully, there are various treatment options available.
Depression should not be confused with the blues. If you feel sad or hopeless for more than two weeks, then you need to see a counselor or doctor regarding this issue.
Medications all come with side effects. While most are generally well-tolerated, some can come with some significant warnings. If you are taking medications, such as those that mess with blood pressure or brain chemicals, it can have a side effect of cognitive impairments.
The decreased cognitive function and forgetfulness you feel may entirely go away when you cease the use of the medication. There are plenty of herbs and natural-based treatments that can heal your issues, and they don’t have the dangerous side effect profiles.
5. Inadequate Sleep
Your body needs a set amount of rest to function. If you are not getting at least seven hours each night, then your body may show signs of sleep deprivation. One of the most significant indications of inadequate sleep is impaired memory.
Many things can cause your sleep to be interrupted. One of the most common problems is sleep apnea. Apnea is a prevalent condition that affects more than 22 million people in this country. Sadly, over 80 percent of these individuals won’t receive the proper diagnosis.
It’s only when a person notices that they are not getting proper sleep, they have memory impairments, and wake with sore throats every morning, that they go for help. Insomnia is another problem for various reasons. Since acute insomnia is prevalent, it must be investigated before it turns into a chronic condition.
6. Vitamin B12 Deficiency
A Vitamin B12 deficiency can wreak havoc on your body. It’s a prevalent deficiency that research connects back to proper brain function. Not having enough of this vitamin can cause brain and nervous system damage.
Many times, people are misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease when they were experiencing a deficiency in this vitamin all along. It must be caught early to avoid any permanent issues.
Everyone is stressed out. Americans live in a constant state of angst. It’s estimated that four to in ten people say their stress levels are too high.
While dealing with stress is an inevitable part of living, it can also take a toll on the body when it continues for long periods. Your body has a built-in mechanism to respond to stress called “fight-or-flight.” When it seems as if you are in danger, then your cortisol and adrenaline levels will rise to meet this challenge.
High cortisol levels can cause problems. Stress will make you say, do, and think things you never thought possible. One thing people that are stressed out notice is that they have a terrible time with forgetfulness. Their mind is only able to handle so much before its short circuits and forgets things they usually would remember.
8. Overloading Your Brain
When people try to juggle many things at once, they can quickly overload your brain. It can display similar signs to a person that is stressed-out. There is only so much that you can do and remember in one day.
People who are overwhelmed may forget to pick their children up from school, or they may forget about things that are a part of their daily routines. Your brain will prioritize what it needs to do, and sometimes when your chemicals are messed up because of anxiety and stress, you may let a few things slip along the way.
9. Thyroid Issues
The thyroid is a powerful organ that controls much of the body’s functions. If your thyroid is hypo or hyper it means, it’s producing too much or not enough hormones. This organ can control your heart, body temperature, and even the metabolization of your food.
The thyroid releases hormones T3 and T4. When there is a deficiency in the body, known as hypothyroidism, the body can become sluggish. These people will feel sluggish, they will gain weight, and they may have problems with forgetfulness.
Thankfully, if your thyroid causes your memory problems, it’s an easy fix. Taking a hormone replacement or herbal replacement can get these chemicals back to a sufficient level.
10. Medical Issues
Sometimes, forgetfulness is caused by an underlying medical condition that has yet to be diagnosed. One of the most common conditions that can cause memory impairment is Multiple Sclerosis, though it’s not the only one.
MS is a condition where the immune system devours the protective covering from the nerves in the body. The damage disrupts the communication between the body and the brain, which results in many problems. One of the issues people experience is memory loss.
Other conditions, like ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is a nervous system disorder, can also cause problems with memory. Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and other movement disorders that affect the brain can cause memory lapses and conative issues.
When dealing with forgetfulness, it’s essential to evaluate the severity of the condition. If it’s something that happens once or twice, then it probably doesn’t need to be assessed.
However, when an impaired memory becomes commonplace and gets worse, then it’s worth having a medical professional evaluate the condition and make sure it’s not degenerative.
Some things, like anxiety and depression, can get better. These conditions might cause a temporary impairment, but they will improve as the situation gets better. Unfortunately, illnesses like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s won’t get better as these conditions are degenerative and will only get worse.
Dealing with memory loss is never an easy feat. It’s imperative to get help sooner rather than later. When dealing with some conditions, time is of the essence, and the sooner you get help, the better off you will be.