Occasional memory problems tend to increase with age and are generally no cause for concern. In many cases, these problems may be reversible with treatment. For example, memory loss caused by medicine side effects can be resolved with a change in your medicines and dosage.
In some cases, the memory loss may not be reversible. This is the case with conditions that cause changes to your brain, such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Lewy body dementia
- Huntington’s disease
- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Medicines may slow the progression of these diseases. Research shows that certain supplements may also help slow down memory loss.
As we age, our brains will begin to process information differently. It may take longer to learn new things. You may also forget things sometimes, like where you placed your car keys. This is a normal part of aging. However, memory problems can also be a sign of a serious medical condition.
When people notice they’re having memory problems, the first thing they may think of is Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. Memory problems can be a sign of dementia. However, before you begin to worry, it is important to note that memory problems can also be a sign of other conditions such as:
- Emotional problems such as anxiety and depression
- Medication side effects
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Sleep apnea
- Brain tumors or infections
- Head injury
Some of these conditions may require immediate medical treatment. If memory problems surface suddenly, be sure to consult with a doctor as soon as possible.
You should consult with a doctor if memory problems begin to affect your daily life. You should also consult with your doctor if you have:
- Difficulty communicating or finding the right words
- Short-term memory changes
- Difficulty completing tasks
- Unusual mood swings
Your doctor will likely schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms. During this visit, they will take a medical history and perform an exam to rule out other potential causes of your memory loss. Depending on the results, you may have tests including blood work and imaging tests of the brain.