Do All Memory Loss Indicate Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer disease is a disorder of the brain that causes memory loss, confusion & changes in personality and limits an individual’s capacity to act independently.

With age, it is obvious that our body and mind will become weaker. As a result, many people become forgetful -- they cannot remember where they kept the keys or whether they had breakfast in the morning. Thanks to the increasing discussion on geriatric health, many are aware of the term Alzheimer’s disease and the slightest hint of memory failing them, declare themselves to be the patients. But that may not be true. Forgetfulness is one of the many things that commonly happens in old age and does not necessarily indicate a disease. Besides, it is not the one and only symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, there are other signs and symptoms and when they occur together, only then the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is made.

Alzheimer disease is a disorder of the brain that causes memory loss, confusion & changes in personality and limits an individual’s capacity to act independently. It is the most common type of dementia and has three stages: In stage 1, known as cognitive decline, people with this disease have only a small amount of memory loss and confusion. However, in the final stage, Alzheimer’s disease may render one unable to talk with family members.

So, what are the signs and symptoms that tell Alzheimer’s disease from the forgetfulness due to old age? Some of the telling differences include:

- Forgetfulness due to normal ageing will cause one to make a bad decision at times. On the other hand, Alzheimer’s disease will cause poor judgement and decision-making quite often. For example, while you may miss a monthly payment as a forgetful person, you are likely to forget about bills for a longer duration in case of Alzheimer’s disease.

- As a forgetful person, you may not recall which day of the week it is but recall later. For an Alzheimer’s patient, it is difficult to keep track of the date or time of year.

- Alzheimer’s patients will have difficulty in making conversation while a forgetful person may not be able to recall one or few words in the entire conversation.

Other medical conditions that can cause memory loss

Apart from the natural process of ageing and resultant forgetfulness, some medical conditions may also affect the functioning of the brain. These include, but not limited to:

- A few types of thyroids, kidney, or liver disorders

- Heavy consumption of alcohol

- Infections or tumors in brains or blood clots

- Head injury due to a fall or accident

- Side effects of any medication

- Lack of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12 in diet causing deficiencies

Emotional problems and mental health conditions, such as anxiety, stress, or depression, may also cause forgetfulness which can be mistaken for dementia. This has emerged as one of the serious challenges during the pandemic as people, cooped up in home, were not only exposed to a steady stream of news on infections and deaths but also battled with deaths in family and friends and insecurities regarding jobs and life in general. It is important that such cases are diagnosed and are treated with counseling, medication or both. Changes in daily life, such as being active or learning new skills, may also help them feel better and improve the capability of their memory.


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