Reasons for memory loss can be many – from mild forgetfulness that comes with age, to more serious conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Since it’s quite common in older adults, many people are scared that forgetfulness is an early sign of dementia. But there are plenty of conditions whose key symptom is memory loss. Read on to find out more about these memory loss conditions, their diagnosis, and potential treatment.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The least serious of the three memory loss conditions on our list, vitamin B12 deficiency can sometimes affect older adults. Even though most people get enough vitamin B12 from a balanced diet, it gets harder to absorb this vitamin with age. If you experience weakness, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath, along with memory loss, chances are you might have this condition.
You can prevent vitamin B12 deficiency by eating enough meat, seafood, dairy products, and eggs. If you have a condition that prevents you from absorbing certain nutrients, you might have to take B12 as a supplement.
Although depression and dementia sometimes go hand-in-hand, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. In older adults, depression can often cause a condition known as pseudodementia, which resembles Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, according to the National Institute of Aging, depression in older adults is often mistaken for Alzheimer’s because older people often experience confusion or attention problems when depressed.
Depending on the type of depression, there are various treatment options. Psychotherapy combined with increased physical activity and a balanced diet can often help. In other cases, it might be better to take medication in the form of antidepressants.
Problems with the thyroid gland can often lead to dementia-like symptoms, especially in older adults. There are two types of thyroid disease:
- Hyperthyroidism – thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs. Treatments include medications such as beta blockers, radioactive therapy, or surgery.
- Hypothyroidism – thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. It’s usually treated with a tablet containing thyroid hormone.
Remember, forgetfulness can be a normal part of the aging process. But it’s important to know the difference between mild forgetfulness and serious memory loss conditions such as dementia. If you feel your memory problems have become more difficult, you may want to contact your doctor.