What other factors can affect your memory?
Here we continue our 5 week series on the dementia.
We hope you enjoy this series and joins us. We welcome those to support each other and share any questions, comments and experiences with the community.
Most people suffer some degree of memory loss as they age, but just because a person is forgetful or even confused does not mean they have Alzheimer’s.
There are a number of "memory stealers" worth considering before rushing to a diagnosis of dementia. Here are some to consider:
People with depression often have a hard time paying attention to things and often don’t feel alert enough mentally to remember everything they need to. Spending time with others and getting treatment for depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can help a person get back to their old self.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Many older people, especially women, have UTIs and don’t even know it. Left untreated, a UTI can spread to your bladder or kidneys, resulting in confusion, sleepiness, a change in behavior, trouble paying attention, and even hallucinations. A simple test at the doctor and a course of antibiotics is usually enough to take care of most UTIs. Staying hydrated and drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements can also help
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck that makes hormones which help your organs work and controls how well your body uses food for fuel. A slow thyroid can lead to weight gain and mental sluggishness. A fast thyroid might result in you having trouble focusing or feeling anxious, depressed or stressed. A simple blood test can determine your thyroid levels and determine the best treatment.
Diabetics have trouble producing insulin, which can result in an imbalance of glucose in the bloodstream. If your level drops too low, your brain literally does not have enough energy to function, leading to confusion and even fainting. A small amount of food, and good glucose monitoring, should help keep things in balance.
Lyme disease is transmitted by an infected tick. If a person does not get antibiotic treatment in a timely manner, they can start having neurological issues such as memory loss, brain fog, trouble communicating with others, and difficulty with daily tasks. A test called a Lyme disease titer should reveal if you have been exposed and what treatments can help.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
B vitamins are essential for many bodily functions. Unfortunately, they are water soluble, which means we can’t store them in the body and they get eliminated in our urine. Therefore, we need to regularly eat sources of B vitamins such as whole grains, and certain meat and vegetables, in order to stay healthy.
Those who are low in B12 will often suffer confusion and muscle spasms. If you are a vegetarian, or have inflammatory bowel disease, ask your doctor to check your levels. If they are low, you can get a B12 shot and take supplements.
Many drugs such as antihistamines, anti-nausea medicine, steroids, and bladder relaxants, can cause symptoms that look like dementia. The older you get, the more likely you will have to take multiple medications, in turn increasing the risk of side effects. And as we age, the body finds it more difficult to eliminate toxins from the body.
Memory loss, confusion and mental fog that develop suddenly after a change in medications should be investigated. Discuss the issue with your doctor; chances are they will be able to suggest alternatives with fewer side effects.
Have you or a loved one experience memory problems?
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Please join us for the next five weeks for the blog series on the topic of dementia.
This is part 3 of a 5 part series on of dementia.
Here are the other posts if you missed them:
Common Symptoms of Dementia
Questions About a Dementia Diagnosis
This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.