How can memory loss be managed?
Q: I am a 53 years old man suffering from memory loss. I am unable to recollect past events or memorise things. I also forget things very easily. This actually happens more while trying to remember and recollect the name of a person. I have to use special tools for reminding myself. Sometimes, this becomes very embarrassing. Is it normal or am I suffering from any illness?
A:Forgetfulness / memory loss (dementia) is a very common symptom, and often neglected as usual / normal as the age advances. Loss of memory is not expected at any age, though slowness in recollection may be there in the very old. There are some common and treatable causes of dementia. These include stress / depression, low levels of thyroid hormone, and deficiency of vitamin B12. Whenever there is memory problem or forgetfulness in someone, it is advisable to investigate at least for these three conditions, as these are treatable and early treatment reverses the symptoms.
In people who have had moderate to severe head injuries (which caused unconsciousness or fits) in past, it is common to have certain memory deficits later in life. There are also diseases like Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia etc. in which there is degeneration of the areas concerned with memory in the brain, but these may be difficult to identify or classify in the early stages. Dementia may also be caused by blockages in small blood vessels in the brain as a complication of high blood pressure / diabetes / high cholesterol levels etc. or rarely, by tumors. Usually proper consultation, evaluation by a neurologist and a neuropsychologist, and some investigations lead us to the diagnosis.
If after proper rest, reduced stress and multivitamin pills for a month, your memory / forgetfulness problems still persist, you should see a qualified Neurologist for further evaluation.