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FDA released a new info note on memory loss and its potential in signaling more serious diseases. Not every forgetfulness moment is a sign of illness. However, there are several details that can help a person to distinguish between a normal memory lapse caused by fatigue and one resulting from cognitive deterioration.
The signs of serious issues are related to the density of memory errors and their impact on the daily activities. For example, forgetting how to balance a checkbook or how to drive, or skipping on personal hygiene, could be indicators of brain malfunctions.
Moreover, if the memory lapses reoccur on a permanent basis, even if the details may be insignificant, a person could be restricted from performing day to day activities and from maintaining social, medical and professional activities.
Another aggravating factor is the progressive nature of the events that involve memory loss.
In order to prevent an occasional memory loss, a person could control the blood pressure and the cholesterol levels. Avoiding smoking and alcohol drinking could also improve the memory function. A healthy diet and social activities could both benefit the brain.
Moreover, keeping the mind active by writing, reading, playing games, and learning new things could also improve brain functions.
Memory loss can be induced by many factors and situations. It can be a symptom of many illnesses, such as depression, HIV infection, syphilis, tuberculosis, thyroid problems, or head injuries. Other memory disturbance elements are the lack of sleep, low levels of B1 and B12 vitamins, drug use, and heavy drinking.
For each of the situations above, the correct treatment for the disease or medical condition will also lead to an improvement in memory functions.
Experts also notice that forgetting things is a part of the normal aging process. Cognitive impairment is diagnosed only when the difficulties are beyond the expected level for a certain age.
The gravest form of memory loss appears in dementia, a degenerative disease that affects the cognitive functioning of the brain. The medical condition completely disturbs daily activities and prevents an aged person from acting independently.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of cognitive impairment in old age. The condition involves a progressive loss of brain cells. More than 5 million people in the US are suffering from a form of dementia.
To prevent cognitive degradation, the experts recommend regular exercise, a healthy diet, mental stimulation, quality sleep, stress management and an active social life.
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