Know the Treatable Causes of Memory Loss

Many causes of memory loss are treatable. When a family member starts having memory problems that are severe enough that you can no longer make excuses, it is time to take action. Both you and your family member may fear that Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia is causing her memory loss. Do you know that many other diseases can be causes of memory loss and that it is critical to get a diagnosis?

Here are some common memory loss causes that are treatable and reversable:

Depression: Sadness, loss of hope, tiredness and memory loss are all symptoms of clinical depression. Make sure that the doctor assesses your family member for depression.

Alcohol or drug abuse: Make sure that you and your family member have an honest discussion with the doctor about her alcohol and drug use.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency: As we age, our bodies have more trouble processing B-12 which can lead to not having enough of it in our bodies.

An over active or under active thryroid gland: Thyroid problems are particularly common in women and can be detected through blood tests. If your family member currently takes thryroid medicine, the effects need to be regularly monitored through blood tests to make sure that they are not receiving too much or too little medication.

Overmedication or combined drug interaction from prescription, over the counter medications and herbal remedies: Seniors are at risk for drug interactions because their bodies tend to process drugs more slowly and because they may take multiple medications. Make sure the doctor knows about all prescription, over the counter and herbal remedies that your family member is using. It's a good idea to have the doctor review all medications and dosages at least twice a year and after a hospitalization.

Stress and grief: Studies show that stress and grief impair our ability to pay attention and remember information. Counseling, participating in a support group and getting regular exercise can help reduce stress and support the grieving process.

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