15 Signs of Memory Loss (Dementia) 2023

signs of memory loss

Stop wondering; here are the most common signs of memory loss which everyone should be familiar with. These can be the beginning signs of dementia, which is why you should definitely mark them down.

Memory loss, which is at times called amnesia can be described as an anomalous degree of forgetfulness or the inability to remember past events.

Depending on the cause, poor memory can happen gradually or all over a sudden. It can also be temporary or permanent.

Lack of memory can either be the inability to recall recent events or those from long ago. Some people experience a combination of the above.

Normal aging typically does not cause significant memory loss. It only happens when there is an accompanying illness responsible for the loss of memory.

One of the biggest concerns for medical practitioners and relatives is whether poor memory is associated with a type of dementia.

This is because the loss of memory can be one of the symptoms of brain malfunctioning.

Dementia, on the other hand, describes cognitive decline symptoms of multiple brain disorders and underlying diseases. It is usually not easy to tell that a person’s memory is declining.

Most of the symptoms will show up in a subtle manner and progress over time.

Have a look at some of the signs of memory loss to be on the lookout for if you suspect that a person is experiencing poor memory.

Common Signs of Memory Loss

1. Confusion

signs of memory loss
You can tell a person is having challenges with their memory when they cannot think with their usual degree of clarity. Time and again, confusion leads to the failure to recognize familiar places and people.

A majority of people will also have a hard time telling the date or time. Confusion can also bring about feelings of disorientation and it can also impair the ability of a person to make good decisions.

2. Loss of Language Subtleties

loss of language subtleties
Communication problems also count as part of memory loss signs.

Changes in memory can cause a person to struggle when they are talking.

Most of the time, you will discover that they get lost in conversations even when the topic is on a subject they are familiar with. Often individuals with memory loss issues will also struggle to pick on the right words to use when they are discussing an idea.

3. Lack of Concentration

signs of memory loss - lack of concentration
Difficulty concentrating is characteristic for people who have memory loss. This is because poor memory affects how a person thinks and their level of concentration.

Lack of memory affects a persons’ attention span as their concentration decreases. This usually results in difficulties focusing and one being distracted easily.

A high percentage of individuals with memory loss issues will start doing one task and leave it before it is complete. For instance, a loud noise may dismantle the completion of tasks like making a bed or reading the newspaper.

This can cause problems especially if a person is working because they have to be reminded to complete their job at all times.

4. Inability To Control Emotions

inability to control emotions
People regulate or control their emotions daily. A person not being able to control emotions is considered to be one of the signs of memory loss.

This simply means that responses are inappropriate or disruptive, given a particular setting.

Some of the emotions that an individual may have include fear, anger, anxiety, and sadness to mention a few.

Individuals with memory loss issues usually feel out of control and they can be overwhelmed by their feelings. This is where you can also observe a person with impaired memory happy for a few moments before they become angry or start crying.

5. Completing Daily Tasks Becomes A Struggle

completing daily tasks becomes a struggle
Many people think that going about their daily tasks is a simple thing that comes automatically. Getting out of bed, taking a shower, brushing teeth, or walking to the mailbox are some of the activities that people take for granted.

Loss of memory can make these easy daily tasks become an uphill struggle. One might even forget how to hold a toothbrush to do the necessary.

Walking to the mailbox may take longer than usual. An individual may find themselves neglecting personal hygiene because things, like taking a bath and dressing up, became a problem.

6. Changes in Movement

changes in movement
A person experiencing loss of memory can also change their movements. It is possible that an individual just wants to move from one room to another without any purpose.

Things become dangerous when they extend their movement outdoors and want to walk on busy streets with cars without a care in the world.

Most people end up getting lost, tasking their loved ones or caregivers to start looking for them to make sure they are safe.

7. Accumulating Unnecessary Items

accumulating unnecessary items
Many people who have impaired memory will start to hoard at some point. This is where a person wants to pile up things that they do not need.

It can be things like clothes, utensils, art pieces, house keys, and toys, etc.

In most cases, someone usually forgets that they have something; thus, go out and buy the same thing.

In other cases, one will misplace something in the house or office; therefore, think that they lost it thus they need a new item.

8. Self-care Is no Longer a Priority

self care is no longer a priority
Among the signs of memory loss include when a person no longer takes care of themselves the way they used to. Some people will forget to take up activities like bathing, combing hair, or flossing.

Others might not be in a physical position to change clothes, clean their rooms or homes or take a shower.

Another section of individuals with poor memory will think that neglecting personal grooming is not an issue. It normally happens when the affected individual lives alone or blatantly refuse help from those around him or her.

9. Failure to Spot a Liar or Pick Up On Sarcasm

failure to spot a liar or pick up on sarcasm
Whether a person appreciates it or not, sarcasm is a huge part of today’s culture. It is a fun way to be critical.

People who experience loss of memory usually have a hard time picking up sarcasm. They can take this as a personal attack and things may end up badly.

Some individuals even have trouble deciphering when a person is lying to them.

This makes them fall easily for unscrupulous individuals who are only out to take advantage of them.

10. Disregarding Social Laws And The Law

disregarding social laws and the law
It is common for people who have issues with memory to lose their sense of social norms.

Studies show that such individuals will not have a problem engaging in criminal activities like breaking into a person’s home or shoplifting.

Others will also exhibit unsuitable interpersonal behaviors, such as making rude sexual comments or actions.

This is something that does not only make people around them uncomfortable, but it can also lead to trouble with the law.

11. Having Trouble Managing Money

having trouble managing money
Individuals with impaired memory will often have a hard time managing resources. It may start with simple issues like keeping up with bills or expenses or balancing checkbooks.

As time passes, one might start to make poor financial decisions that affect their lives negatively.

Many people dismiss this symptom as a part of normal aging but in an actual sense, it is not. The majority tend to think that aging is synonymous with losing a person’s mind, which is a wrong notion.

It is; therefore, necessary for the person with poor memory to receive genuine assistance with money management.

12. Reduced Gaze

reduced gaze
This is one of the signs of memory loss that many people do not take seriously. Reduced gaze is when memory impairment alters an individual’s ability to move their eyes normally.

While people with “good” memory will tack and move their eyes frequently, lack of memory can make one appear that they are always staring a lot. This can also cause difficulties when a person is reading.

It is where an individual may find themselves skipping some words or full lines when reading a text.

In the first days, the person whose memory is affected not be aware of this new development in their life but people around them may pick it out easily.

13. Not Knowing what Familiar Objects are Used for

not knowing what familiar objects are used for
Loss of memory can put one in a dilemma where they cannot easily recognize what objects they are familiar with are used for.

This is where they try to rack their brain, trying to figure out the name of something they use daily. It can be an item such as a hairdryer or shaving kit.

Despite using the items well before, individuals with memory issues may be clueless when it comes to the use of objects they need to use every day.

14. Consuming Rancid Foods and Non-food Objects

consuming rancid foods and non food objects
Among the surprising signs of memory loss is where a person can be comfortable eating spoilt or rancid foods. It is primarily because the individual forgets what to do with the things that are in front of them.

This means that they may not be able to tell the expiry dates of the foods in their refrigerator or pantry.

A person may also find themselves wanting to eat the flowers in a restaurant setting. They may be aware that they are in a restaurant to eat but not necessarily know why the flowers are on the table.

15. Mixing words

mixing words
It becomes pretty apparent that an older adult has a problem with memory when they start to mix words. Meaning, instead of saying “tea,” they go for “coffee.” Or even words that have little to no correlation, like mixing the word “dog” for a “table.”

Needless to say, something similar happened to all of us already and, very likely, not once. However, if this becomes a repeated practice, even in a row, the chances are that memory is troubling them.

When this occurs, it would be ideal if you could take the person who is showing signs of memory loss to see the doctor as quickly as possible.

12 Common Memory Loss Causes 2023

memory loss causes

To live a healthy and happy life, you need to be aware of the most common memory loss causes and try to eliminate them as soon as possible.

Almost everyone has experienced a degree of memory loss in their lifetime. It can be something as simple as forgetting where you put your house or car keys.

It can also be as serious as completely forgetting past experiences or failure to recall facts.

Episodes of memory loss are often associated with the development of dementia, especially as a person ages.

While this illness is responsible for multiple cases of memory loss, dementia is not always the sole cause. There are other reversible factors that can also stimulate memory loss.

The Most Common Memory Loss Causes

1. Stress

memory loss causes - stress
Too much stress may be one of the reasons you forget things. Stress overloads the mind and if left untreated, it can result in a myriad of issues including depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, brain drain, distractions, etc.

Persons undergoing stress are always tense, finding it difficult to focus; hence, the ability to remember suffers. Moderate stress often triggers short-term memory problems.

Exposure to chronic stress may escalate the risk of developing dementia.

It’s important to employ effective stress management strategies to enrich memory. This also helps to maintain and improve the health of the body, brain, and the quality of life.

2. Medications

Several over-the-counter and prescription medicines are among the leading memory loss causes. Possible meds that may impair memory include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety medicines
  • Sleeping pills
  • Diabetes medication
  • Cholesterol-lowering medicine
  • Tranquilizers
  • Some painkillers especially the ones that doctors administer after surgery, etc.

When seeing different doctors for various conditions, it is important that each professional knows the complete list of medication you are on. It’s the only way to avoid taking medicines that will interact with the ones that you are already taking.

You can also ask your physician whether he or she can adjust the medications you are taking to reduce confusion and forgetfulness.

3. Alcohol and Drug Abuse

alcohol and drug abuse a cause of memory loss
Chronic alcoholism and use of illicit drugs can affect your memory. From blacking out when you overindulge to amplified risk of dementia later on, alcohol and drugs have both instant and long-lasting memory loss effects.

Alcohol causes memory loss because it alters the hippocampus activities in the brain. Heavy drinking and the use of hard drugs interfere with the ability to create fresh long-term memories.

Studies show that men who drink heavily end up showing signs of mental decline years earlier than light drinkers.

The two are also known to be the cause of other health issues like liver failure, anemia, heart diseases, and so forth.

4. Nutritional Deficiency

nutritional deficiency
Your diet plays an important role in your ability to keep information and recall things. Lacking certain vitamins in the body are among the common memory loss causes that people experience.

An example is B12 an essential B vitamin that assists with regular nerve function.

When you lack this vitamin, it is easy to experience memory issues. In some cases, vitamin B12 deficit has shown symptoms that are easily mistaken for dementia.

The solution is to make sure you are getting enough B12 vitamin. You can get this from many sources like:

  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Meats
  • Foods fortified with vitamin B12

5. Traumatic Brain Injury

traumatic brain injury can cause memory loss
Memory issues are common in individuals who have TBI (traumatic brain injury). The injuries can damage sections of the brain that handle remembering and learning.

Generally, TBI affects newer memories more than the older ones. Some people may have problems remembering the exact cause of the injury. This means that the brain does not store specific injuries as a series of memory.

A majority of traumatic brain injury victims may not be able to store memories for some time after the injury.

Post-traumatic amnesia refers to the loss of consciousness from the TBI moment. It can last for a few minutes, weeks, or several months, depending on the severity of the brain injury.

6. Grief

Grief is amongst the emotional memory loss causes that affects many people. When you lose someone or even something you love or feel closely connected to, your body will use up lots of emotional and physical energy as a coping mechanism.

This may end up reducing your ability to focus on current events or people around you.

Consequently, your memory may suffer. A person needs time to process grief.

To some extent, grief is similar to depression, only that it stems from an acute loss or specific situation.

Depression, on the other hand, may occur without any particular cause. Support groups and individual counseling can help you successfully deal with grief.

7. Smoking

Whilst some people smoke for fun, cigarettes can harm memory. This is because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that travels to the brain.

Studies reveal that smoking, particularly during midlife, causes poor memory.

Additionally, it makes it harder for you to learn and think. Smoking when you are over thirty years damages blood vessels in your brain and the rest of the body.

Scientists recognize smoking as a top dementia risk factor. Researchers also conclude that people who smoke are at higher risk of heart diseases.

It is best to quit smoking if you want to enjoy better functioning memory and overall health.

8. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

mild cognitive impairment MCI
MCI is at the top of the list when it comes to common cognitive memory loss causes. This is when you experience a decline in mental abilities that develop slowly without necessarily changing your ability to go about your day to day activities.

There are different types of MCI.

Amnestic mild cognitive impairment is the one most associated with memory loss.

Individuals with amnestic MCI tend to have more memory problems than others in their age group. Some of the signs of MCI are:

  • Forgetting to go to appointments or events
  • Frequently losing things
  • Having challenges coming up with words than other individuals of the same age

9. Sleep Deprivation

sleep deprivation
The perks of getting quality sleep are simply priceless. Among them include more energy, less weight gain, and most importantly the ability to think clearer.

Lack of adequate sleep can cause fatigue, which has been shown to affect both learning and memory.

If you find that you have trouble sleeping most nights, it is advisable to look for natural ways to improve sleeping habits.

This is not just light sleeping; you need to ensure that you are enjoying rapid eye movement sleep also known as deep sleep which plays a crucial role in memory.

It’s one of the best ways to help your brain retrieve and consolidate important information.

10. Silent Stroke

silent stroke
Perhaps one of the most surprising memory loss cause on this list is the silent stroke.

Noticeable changes in the ability to move and think to occur when a person suffers from strokes that block major blood vessels.

There is a high chance that you will experience mild memory problems after going through silent strokes that block blood vessels. This can change modify brain function.

Worth emphasizing is that your brain is vulnerable to reduced or blocked blood flow. This is because it denies the brain enough essential nutrients and oxygen.

Persons with memory loss are at higher risk of stroke.

11. Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

underactive thyroid hypothyroidism
If a person experiences underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, they do not feel very well both mentally and physically. Some of the main symptoms of hypothyroidism are gaining or losing weight, fatigue, poor sleep and tiredness.

For your information, underactive thyroid can also affect memory. That said, you need to understand that memory decrease does not always mean dementia or Alzheimer’s. When you assume it is hypothyroidism, a simple blood test will reveal the mystery.

From then on, with the appropriate treatment, you can alleviate the condition and bring back the old self.

If and when brain fog and forgetfulness appear, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

12. Good fitness & exercise

good fitness exercise
It is common sense that exercise, activity and great fitness are essential for a healthy brain. Not just that, for healthy memory, too! If you exercise just for two and a half hours a week, you are better off than then the majority of the population.

Can you imagine, just 150 minutes, and you can already experience outstanding results. However, that is not the case for approx. 75% of the people over 65. As a matter of fact, they are either overweight or obese, and this happens to be one of the causes of memory loss.

To your luck, you need very little to start getting in shape, especially if you mix exercise with quality food – you are winning the game.

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