It is important to understand that forgetting things is quite common. Anyone can forget the shopping list at home, misplace car keys and not remember appointments. The mind going blank occasionally is not always a serious problem, but a sign that you need a break. However, when it comes to frequent memory loss, disorientation, brain fog, along with other symptoms, such as irritability or loss of the sense of smell, it could be a sign of issues (such as Alzheimer's or some kind of dementia). You may need to visit your physician and get it checked out.
A declining memory is also a common sign of aging. The other common reasons may include
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Head injury (old or new)
- Medications (sleep medications, certain antidepressants, epilepsy drugs and narcotic painkillers)
- Sleep problems
- Suppression of traumatic events (post-traumatic amnesia)
- Lack of focus due to anxiety
- Mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Infections, such as Lyme disease and meningitis
- Chronic diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus
- Brain tumors
- Huntington’s disease
If you realize that you constantly forget things, you must consult a neuro physician for a comprehensive evaluation. The doctor may find it necessary to order some tests and suggest lifestyle modification along with medications.
How can I improve my memory to overcome forgetfulness?
The brain is a complex organ with innumerable connections. Certain exercises and activities, if done regularly, may help strengthen those connections.
The following suggestions may help boost your memory:
- Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. This helps keep your memory sharp. For most healthy adults, the researchers recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (brisk walking) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (jogging) preferably spread throughout the week.
- Just as physical activity helps keep your body in shape, mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain healthy and might keep memory loss at bay. Try solving crossword puzzles or attempting numerical games. Read a section of the newspaper that you normally skip. Learn to play a musical instrument.
- Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss. Look for opportunities to get together with loved ones, friends and others, especially if you live alone.
- Limit distractions and don’t try to do too many things at once. Think about the task you are working on and try to focus.
- Sleep plays an important role in helping you consolidate your memories, so you can recall them down the road. Getting enough sleep is a priority. Most adults need seven to eight hours of undisturbed sleep a day.
- Diet might be as good for your brain as it is for your heart. Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. What you drink counts, too. Not enough water or too much alcohol can lead to confusion and memory loss.
- Follow doctor’s treatment recommendations for any chronic conditions, such as depression or kidney or thyroid problems. The better you take care of yourself, the better your memory is likely to be. Also, review your medications with your doctor regularly. Various medications can impact memory.
- Set your alarms and use features to organize your dates. Stop multitasking. Concentrate on one task at a time.
- Pay attention to the items that surround the objects you have forgotten. Keep your things organized.
- Try meditation. It strengthens your focus and coordination and improves memory as well.
What are the signs of serious memory problems?
According to the U.S. National Institute on Aging (part of the National Institutes of Health), serious memory problems make it hard to do everyday things. Signs of serious memory problems may include
- Asking the same questions repeatedly
- Getting lost in places you know well
- Not being able to follow directions
- Becoming more confused about time, people and places
- Not taking care of yourself, eating poorly, not bathing or being unsafe
Humans are good at remembering complex chunks of information rather than a single detail. It is a lot easier for a person to remember four photographs in detail than it is to remember a list of several two-digit numbers. The brain forms memories through consolidation, attention and emotional arousal. By focusing a little more on things and using proper learning strategies in everyday life, you may be able to retain more information.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
WebMD: "Is It Alzheimer’s or Normal Aging?" https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-or-forgetful
Scientific American: "Why Do We Forget?" https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/why-do-we-forget/
Top Why Do I Forget Things Easily Related Articles
Alzheimer's DiseaseAlzheimer's disease is a common cause of dementia. Symptoms and warning signs of Alzheimer's disease include memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks, disorientation to time and place, misplacing things, and more. The biggest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is increased age. Treatment for Alzheimer's is often targeted toward decreasing the symptoms and progression of the disease.
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver GuideCaring for a loved one or patient with Alzheimer's can become a difficult and overwhelming task at times. This guide helps caregivers of individual's with Alzheimer's deal with communicating, bathing, and dressing; as well as problem solving with incontinence, sleeping, wandering; and coping with difficulties Alzheimer's patients present.
Caregivers & Alzheimer'sLearn to spot early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and find out what to expect from the different stages of Alzheimer's.
7 Alzheimer's Disease Stages and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease depend on the stage of the disease. Some doctors and researchers disagree in regard to the number of stages of Alzheimer's disease (from 1 to 7 stages). The Global Deterioration Scale or GDS identifies seven stages of Alzheimer's disease that include stage 1 (no impairment), stage 2 (very mild cognitive decline), stage 3 (mild cognitive decline), stage 4 (moderate cognitive decline), stage 5 (moderately severe decline), stage 6 (severe decline), and stage 7 (very severe decline). There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, however, there are drugs and therapies to help the symptoms Alzheimer's disease causes.
Alzheimer's Disease PictureIn the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, patients may experience memory impairment, lapses of judgment, and subtle changes in personality. See a picture of Alzheimer's Disease and learn more about the health topic.
Alzheimer's QuizTake the Alzheimer's Quiz to discover some of the mysteries behind this cognitive disorder. Learn causes, symptoms, treatments, diagnosis, and little-known facts about Alzheimer's disease (AD) and the brain disorders it can mimic.
Dementia: Is It Aging or Alzheimer's?Learn the difference between memory problems that can happen to all of us as we get older and real warning signs of dementia.
The Stages of Dementia: Alzheimer's Disease and Aging BrainsWhat are the symptoms of dementia? What causes dementia? Dementia includes many disorders, such as Lewy Body dementia, Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and more. Learn the warning signs of dementia.
What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's?Dementia is a group of symptoms (syndrome) characterized by a decline in memory, thinking and reasoning. Although dementia is a cluster of symptoms, Alzheimer’s is a slowly progressive disorder of the brain that destroys memory and thinking skills.
Do Alzheimer's Patients Sleep a Lot?Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a degenerative disease of the brain. It is characterized by thinning of the brain surface and loss of brain cells, which gradually ceases a person’s ability to speak, express, or make decisions.
Reasons for Memory Loss and Dementia RiskForget your keys? That might be absentmindedness. Forget what you did this morning? That might be a more serious memory problem. Find out what causes memory loss and what you can do about it.
How Do Alzheimer’s Patients Feel?Alzheimer’s patients may experience memory loss, difficulty thinking or concentrating, irritability, mood swings and bouts of anger, anxiety and fear.
How Does Alzheimer’s Kill?Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a degenerative disease of the brain, resulting in memory loss, cognitive decline, and personality changes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia (loss of memory and cognitive skills).
How Does Peanut Butter Detect Alzheimer’s?Researchers at the University of Florida discovered that an altered sense of smell in the left nostril may be a warning sign of early-stage Alzheimer’s.
Memory QuizWhat makes things easy to remember or forget? Take this quiz to learn about your amazing brain!
What Are the Seven Stages of Alzheimer's?While not everyone will experience the same symptoms, and the disease may progress at a different rate for each individual, the typical progression of Alzheimer’s disease can be broken down into seven stages.
Why Do Alzheimer's Patients Stop Eating?Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disorder of the brain that causes the brain cells to shrink and eventually die. It is the most common cause of dementia (loss of memory and cognitive skills) in the elderly.