Memory loss or forgetfulness is a normal occurrence, and it happens to everyone from time to time. But how will you know whether your memory deficit is normal or symptoms of a serious ailment such as dementia? It is normal for healthy people, especially healthy older adults, to forget things once in a while, but if it becomes persistent and daily life becomes a hassle, then you should consult a doctor.
Normal memory Issues
- Transience: Transience is the ability of the brain to forget memories that are not called up frequently. Scientists regard transience as useful because it clears the brain to make way for newer memories.
- Blocking: Blocking is a temporary inability of the brain to retrieve memories. Memory blocks become common with age and people are mostly able to retrieve the blocked memories within a minute.
- Absent mindedness: Absent mindedness comes with a lack of attention. You might forget where you kept your pen because you were thinking about something else at that moment.
- Persistence: Sometimes, people cannot forget specific traumatic memories even if they want to. People suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suffer from persistent memory.
- Bias: Sometimes, you recall memories through your perspective, and therefore that same event might have a different recollection for another person.
- Misattribution: It is called misattribution when you remember a part of an incident and forget the rest. Some of your minor details might also be wrong.
Memory Issues That Are Not Normal
- If your memory deficit is affecting your daily life, it is cause for concern. If recently you forgot what you just learned or you have to maintain notes or reminders for even simple things, it is time that you should consult a doctor.
- If you are getting lost in familiar places like your favorite park, or the way from your office to home, you should discuss it with your doctor.
- If you are frequently misplacing objects or forgetting the place where you regularly keep them, it is a matter of concern.
You should talk to your doctor if you or any of your family members are facing a memory deficit that might be linked to brain health. You or your loved one might have dementia. If Alzheimer’s disease causes dementia, the symptoms are irreversible. If your dementia is caused by other causes and is detected early, timely treatment can reverse the problem.
Role of Diet and Stress in Forgetfulness
- Diet: Sometimes nutritional deficiencies might lead to memory deficit. For maintaining proper brain health, you must consume a diet rich in Vitamin B12. You can receive Vitamin B12 in abundance from dairy products, meat and fish. It is essential for normal nerve function and memory retention by the brain.
- Stress: If you suffer from high stress and anxiety, you are always too overwhelmed by some thoughts. Your brain is already packed with too many problems to deal with, and therefore, you find it difficult to remember more frequent occurrences. Stress also leads to absent mindedness, making your brain more susceptible to memory loss.
Self-Management Steps to Deal with Forgetfulness
- Get involved in physical activities: Exercise in any form increases blood flow to your brain. This might help you retain memory better than those who lead a sedentary life.
- Socialize: Depression, stress and loneliness might slowly lead to memory loss, especially in older adults. Therefore, socializing and talking more with people might slow the process of memory loss.
- Organize yourself: You should organize your home correctly because a cluttered house makes forgetting things here and there more common. You should also maintain a notebook to jot down important things like the timing of medicines.
- Get plenty of sleep: Getting plenty of sleep is very important to keep your brain clear. If you get abundant sleep at night, your brain is clear to register new memories the following day. You should get at least seven to nine hours of sleep for a refreshed mind.
- Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet is vital for your whole body. Incorporate more vegetables, fruits and whole grains into your daily diet. Avoid too much alcohol as it might lead to confusion and memory deficit.
- Stay mentally active: You must get involved in mentally stimulating activities to make your brain sharper. Play bridge or crossword puzzles or you can learn to drive or play a musical instrument.
- Treat chronic conditions: Certain chronic conditions such as depression, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and hearing loss might affect your ability to remember. Therefore, talk with your doctor to keep these chronic conditions under treatment.
If you are worried about your memory loss or memory loss is affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor immediately. He will conduct tests and also check your memory to start treatment as soon as possible.