How to know if you're heading to a MEMORY problem

1.

Lapses in memory may jump from an ordinary instance due to mental fatigue or overload to a serious memory problem. Go through the checklist below if you are experiencing some of these symptoms:

* Difficulties with language, such as frequently forgetting simple words or substituting inappropriate words.
* Disorientation in familiar locales or in familiar situations.
* Poor judgment.
* Confusion about time of day, month, season, or decade.
* Memory problems accompanied by other symptoms such as extreme fatigue, loss of enthusiasm, unusual mood changes, agitation, listlessness, problems with balance and coordination,vision problems, numbness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and headaches.

2.

Evaluation through battery tests of various forms (language, counting, problem solving) facilitated by a psychologist is recommended to find out whether or not your memory is in perfect sync with your age bracket's memory capability.

3.

If your results suggest that there may be some memory loss, you may rule out physical causes of memory problems, such as head injury, alcohol and drug abuse, sleep disorders. Further clinical studies may be conducted to see if a memory disorder has started to build up in connection with other disease. Thorough discussion with your doctor is best.

Tips and Warnings

  • Memory problems are attributed to a variety of factors:
  • Depression - Slows a multitude of mental processes. It is the most common contributor to memory problems. There are about 9,000,000 people in America who suffer from depression. 340,000,000 people in the world have depression. Its growing predominance will make it the second most common health problem by 2010. Depression sufferers are twice as likely to develop memory problems. Depression also raises risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia.
  • Stress - Anxiety and stressful life events (such as work-related problems, relationship problems, bereavement) affect your ability to store and recall memories. Approximately 65\% of Americans are not getting sufficient sleep due to stress. Proper sleep is essential for optimal brain function.
  • Aging - During your mid-40s and 50s, it is quite normal to feel you have become more forgetful. Surveys indicate 75\% of people over the age of 50 report that they experienced memory problems in the past year. At birth, the brain weighs less than a pound, but by the time you are 20 years of age, it weighs approximately 3 pounds. However, the brain shrinks as you age. The loss of brain cells occurs as neurons die and spaces between the neurons (synapses) shrink. This shrinking occurs slowly, but nearly 30 percent of your brain's mass will be lost by the time you are in your 70s. The Hippocampus (essential for new memory creation) will lose a total of 20 percent of nerve cells by the time you turn 80. Your memory is affected because there are fewer neurons on which to impress memories, as well as fewer connections for retrieving those memories. However memory loss is not automatic as you age - a study of 111 people aged 90-100 years showed that over half had a strikingly good memory!
  • Hormonal Imbalance - Dramatic decline in estrogen and progesterone levels have a significant impact on memory retention. Research suggests a link between the hormone estrogen and Alzheimer's disease in women. Menopause (the stage of life when a woman stops menstruating and her body produces less estrogen) is associated with an increase in the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Thyroid problems can also lead to insufficient secretion of hormones that support your brain's memory-related activities.
  • Head Injury - A recent study of veterans showed that head injury early in life is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia as you age. Furthermore, the risk of Alzheimer's disease increases with the severity of the head injury.
  • Toxins - The accumulation of evironmental toxins such as aluminum and mercury in the brain has been liked to memory deterioration and Alzheimer's disease.
  • Chemical Deficiency - People afflicted with Alzheimer's disease have abnormally low levels of acetylcholine in their brains. This highlights the importance of brain chemistry in maintaining good memory.
  • Dehydration - Not having enough fluid in your body adversely affects your nervous system as well as vital organs that support body functions.
  • Side-Effects - Many pharmaceutical medicines adversely affect brain function, memory, and concentration.
  • Infection - Brain abscess, encephalitis, meningitis, sepsis, and other illnesses restrict blood flow to the brain. This fosters neuron degeneration and memory loss.
  • Check if you are overly exposed to factors-causing Memory problems.