Emotional Causes Of Memory Loss
Because our mind and body are connected and affect each other, our emotions and thoughts can impact our brain. The energy it takes to cope with certain feelings or life stress can get in the way of storing or remembering details and schedules.
Often, these emotional triggers of memory loss can be improved by support, counseling, and lifestyle changes. Even just being aware ofand limiting exposure tothings that increase stress can help.
Different Types Of Memory
It seems that the brain has a number of different memory forms, including:
- Short term – new information is stored for a brief time. If the information isn’t further processed, it will soon be forgotten.
- Long term – information from the short term memory is shifted to the long term memory.
- – conscious memories of information and events.
- Non-declarative – once learned, habits such as driving a car are ingrained and automatic.
How Acute Covid Infection Affects The Brain
An acute infection is a sudden and active infection. According to NINDS, COVID probably does not infect the brain or nerves directly. Inflammation and damage are caused by proteins called antibodies that the immune system makes in response to the infection. These antibodies may cause a severe immune system reaction that could cause brain or nerve swelling. There are also other ways COVID can cause neurological symptoms:
- COVID mainly affects the lungs and causes oxygen levels to drop. The brain and spinal cord require oxygen to function. Low oxygen levels can cause damage to the central nervous system. Without oxygen brain cells start to die.
- Some research shows that COVID viruses can attack the cells in the walls of blood vessels and make them weak. This can cause microbleeds. In the brain, these microbleeds lead to mini-strokes.
- COVID may also increase the risk for blood clots. A blood clot in a blood vessel that supplies part of the brain can also cause a mini-stroke.
- A large bleed or large blood vessel clot in the brain can cause a full-blown stroke with permanent brain damage.
Common COVID symptoms dont typically include neurological symptoms, but brain fog and memory loss can occur because of long COVID.
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What To Expect At Your Doctors Visit
The doctor will ask you a lot of questions about your memory, including:
- How long have you or others noticed a problem with your memory?
- What kinds of things have been difficult to remember?
- Did the difficulty come on gradually or suddenly?
- Are you having trouble doing ordinary things?
The doctor also will want to know what medications youre taking, how youve been eating and sleeping, whether youve been depressed or stressed lately, and other questions about whats been happening in your life. Chances are the doctor will also ask you or your partner to keep track of your symptoms and check back in a few months. If your memory problem needs more evaluation, your doctor may send you to a neuropsychologist.
Making Connections Between Theory And Reality
Today, I called off sick from work and decided to watch a movie. As I was looking at all my movies on the shelf I came across 50 First Dates . I have not watched the movie since it came out. Wait a minute is this movie seriously 10 years old!? Upon realizing how long ago the movie was released and how little I remember it, I decided this was the perfect movie for a sick day.
The film stars probably one of the best romantic comedy duos, Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. Drew Barrymores character, named Lucy, obtained a brain injury from a car accident, which ultimately affected her short-term memory. Her doctor said she suffers from Goldfield Syndrome. Lucy still has all her long-term memory, but she wakes up every day thinking its October 13th of the previous year, right before her accident. Every single day she basically relives the same day: Goes to the local cafe, celebrates her fathers birthday, and paints the entire garage. Everyone who knows Lucy tries to protect her from the harsh reality of her condition, and tries to make life as simple as possible for her. Then Adam Sandlers character, named Henry, enters the picture. Henry is automatically attracted to her after seeing her at the cafe, and he will do anything he can to be with her.
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Causes Of Memory Loss
Here are some of the more common things that can cause memory loss:
Medications. A number of prescription and over-the-counter medications can interfere with or cause loss of memory. Possible culprits include: antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and pain medications given after surgery.
Smoking harms memory by reducing the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain. Studies have shown that people who smoke find it more difficult to put faces with names than do nonsmokers. Illegal drugs can change chemicals in the brain that can make it hard to recall memories.
Sleep deprivation. Both quantity and quality of sleep are important to memory. Getting too little sleep or waking frequently in the night can lead to fatigue, which interferes with the ability to consolidate and retrieve information.
Depression and stress. Being depressed can make it difficult to pay attention and focus, which can affect memory. Stress and anxiety can also get in the way of concentration. When you are tense and your mind is overstimulated or distracted, your ability to remember can suffer. Stress caused by an emotional trauma can also lead to memory loss.
How Sugar Accelerates Short
Your brain needs a steady supply of glucose, its main fuel.
The key word here is steady.
But the simple carbs found in the types of sugar and flour commonly used in processed foods can push blood glucose levels into an unhealthy range.
Sugar also increases free radical damage and promotes inflammation of the brain.
It can even change your brainwave patterns, making it hard to think clearly.
Consuming too many simple carbohydrates can even cause insulin resistance in the brain.
This type of insulin resistance has been linked to Alzheimers disease.
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Compensating For Memory Loss
The same practices that contribute to healthy aging and physical vitality also contribute to a healthy memory. So, by taking steps early to prevent cognitive decline, youll also be improving all other aspects of your life as well.
Stay social. People who arent socially engaged with family and friends are at higher risk for memory problems than people who have strong social ties. Quality face-to-face social interaction can greatly reduce stress and is powerful medicine for the brain, so schedule time with friends, join a book club, or visit the local senior center. And be sure to put your phone away and focus fully on the people youre with if you want the full brain benefit.
Stop smoking. Smoking heightens the risk of vascular disorders that can cause stroke and constrict arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain. When you quit smoking, the brain quickly benefits from improved circulation.
Manage stress. Cortisol, the stress hormone, damages the brain over time and can lead to memory problems. But even before that happens, stress or anxiety can cause memory difficulties in the moment. When youre stressed out or anxious, youre more likely to suffer memory lapses and have trouble learning or concentrating. But simple stress management techniques can minimize these harmful effects.
Walking: An easy way to fight memory loss
Lifestyle Causes Of Short
The causes of short-term memory loss are not always medical.
Often an unhealthy lifestyle is to blame.
This means that by simply making healthier choices, you can stop and even reverse memory loss and other signs of mental decline.
For example, even something as simple as being chronically dehydrated can impact your short-term memory.
Fortunately, due to a property called neuroplasticity, your brain has the capability to grow, change, and improve throughout your lifetime.
So no matter how bad your memory is now, you can halt its decline and even improve your memory provided you start doing the right things.
While all lifestyle factors affect your general brain function to some degree, three of the worst offenders that are specifically harmful to short-term memory are lack of sleep, stress, and sugar.
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Infections Of The Brain Or Its Lining
Infections like HIV, tuberculosis and herpes can cause memory problems. HIV puts the function of nerve cells at risk by infecting the cells that protect and support them. The virus can also trigger inflammation that can damage the brain and cause forgetfulness. With tuberculosis, memory loss can be a complaint. However, prompt treatment can resolve these problems. Meanwhile, herpes simplex virus can cause a rare neurological disorder called herpes simplex encephalitis. This inflammation of the brain can lead to memory loss. Antiviral drugs may help if treatment is started right away.
Drugs That Cause Short
Sometimes its the drug treatment for a health condition, not the condition itself, that causes memory loss.
There are many prescription drugs that list short-term memory loss as a side effect.
Acetylcholine is also essential for turning short-term memories into long-term ones.
The level of acetylcholine naturally declines with age which puts older adults at greater risk for memory loss induced by their medications.
Two of the worst kinds of medications for causing short-term memory loss are anti-anxiety drugs and narcotic painkillers .
And its not only prescription drugs that can affect your memory.
Some over-the-counter remedies such as the antihistamine Benadryl are anticholinergic and have been linked to dementia.
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Memory Care At Walker Methodist
Weve re-named our memory care communities Kaleidoscope, a fitting name suggesting metamorphosis, vibrancy, and life.
At Walker Methodist, we dont just take care of people with memory loss or dementia. We see their value and recognize their worth in this stage of their lives. We not only meet their physical needs, but we care for the needs of the person as a whole being.
If you have a loved one who is experiencing this transformation, reach out to our team today and learn how we can help enhance their lives, even during this time of change.
Short Term Memory Treatment
Treatment can vary and will depend on what is contributing to your memory loss. If a condition such as depression or a sleep problem is the main contributor to memory loss, treatment aims to treat the underlying condition, with the aim of reversing the memory loss. Other ways of treating short term memory loss include:
- Changes to medications if they are thought to be the cause
- Cognitive behavior therapy for head injury-related memory loss
- Medication and surgery for conditions such as blood clots, bleeding on the brain, and brain tumors
- Nutritional supplements to treat vitamin deficiencies
- Rehabilitation for drug or alcohol misuse
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What Does Memory Loss Look Like In A Person With Dementia
Memory loss can be a symptom of any type of dementia. For people with Alzheimers disease, it is often among the very first signs.
Memory can be affected in different ways. These include:
- not being able to create new memories this means that recent events are not recorded in the persons memory and so cannot be recalled later. For example, the person may forget a conversation they have just had.
- taking longer to retrieve information this means that, even though the person is still able to recall things, this takes them much longer or they might need a prompt. For example, they might need more time to find the name for an object.
- not being able to retrieve information this means that, even though the person may be able to create new memories, they are not able to access them when needed. For example, they may get lost in familiar surroundings or on journeys they have taken many times.
In the same way, people with dementia may still be able to remember things that they have repeated many times in their life, such as a route to school. This also includes skills that involved a lot of practice, like playing a musical instrument or driving.
This emotional memory can be triggered by senses, such as hearing a certain piece of music or smelling a certain fragrance.
How Can Covid Affect Memory And Thinking
Memory: If your memory is affected, you may find it difficult to hold information in your head in order to use it to make decisions based on that information, you may struggle to recall something that has happened, or forget to take medication on time.
Attention and concentration: Problems with attention/concentration can make it hard to focus and ignore distractions. So, it may be difficult to find the can opener in the cluttered utensil drawer, help your child/grandchild with homework, or hold a conversation, whilst the TV is on, or keep up with conversations that are fast-paced or involve more than one other person. It may be more difficult to do two things at the same time and not be distracted when trying to concentrate on a task.
Executive functions: Executive functions are the mental processes that allow us to solve problems, make decisions, plan ahead, and see tasks thorough to completion.
For example, executive functions are needed to deal with problems, organise a holiday, get the car fixed, find a new job or a new place to live.
People with executive functioning problems often seem disorganised, impulsive, and not thinking things through. They may find it difficult to get going on tasks, or start a task but not see it through, perhaps getting distracted by something irrelevant and not noticing that they have drifted off-task.
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When To Visit The Doctor For Memory Loss
If you, a family member, or friend has problems remembering recent events or thinking clearly, talk with a doctor. He or she may suggest a thorough checkup to see what might be causing the symptoms. You may also wish to talk with your doctor about opportunities to participate in research on cognitive health and aging.
At your doctor visit, he or she can perform tests and assessments, which may include a brain scan, to help determine the source of memory problems. Your doctor may also recommend you see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the brain and nervous system.
Memory and other thinking problems have many possible causes, including depression, an infection, or medication side effects. Sometimes, the problem can be treated, and cognition improves. Other times, the problem is a brain disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which cannot be reversed.
Finding the cause of the problems is important for determining the best course of action. Once you know the cause, you can make the right treatment plan. People with memory problems should make a follow-up appointment to check their memory every six to 12 months. They can ask a family member, friend, or the doctor’s office to remind them if they’re worried they’ll forget.
Symptoms Of Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild cognitive impairment is an intermediate stage between normal age-related cognitive changes and the more serious symptoms that indicate dementia.
MCI can involve problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes, but the line between MCI and normal memory problems is not always a clear one. The difference is often one of degrees. For example, its normal as you age to have some problems remembering the names of people. However, its not normal to forget the names of your close family and friends and then still be unable to recall them after a period of time.
If you have mild cognitive impairment, you and your family or close friends will likely be aware of the decline in your memory or mental function. But, unlike people with full-blown dementia, you are still able to function in your daily life without relying on others.
While many people with MCI eventually develop Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia, that doesnt mean its inevitable. Some people with MCI plateau at a relatively mild stage of decline while others even return to normal. The course is difficult to predict, but in general, the greater the degree of memory impairment, the greater your risk of developing dementia some time in the future.
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What To Expect At Your Office Visit
The provider will perform a physical exam and ask about the person’s medical history and symptoms. This will usually include asking questions of family members and friends. For this reason, they should come to the appointment.
Medical history questions may include:
- Type of memory loss, such as short-term or long-term
- Time pattern, such as how long the memory loss has lasted or whether it comes and goes
- Things that triggered memory loss, such as head injury or surgery
Tests that may be done include:
- Blood tests for specific diseases that are suspected
Treatment depends on the cause of memory loss. Your provider can tell you more.