Portrait of a Woman

Memory Loss

Memory Loss Q&A

What causes memory loss?

 

Stress, anxiety, or depression can lead to forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and other problems that hamper daily activities. 

 

Alcoholism. Chronic alcoholism can seriously impair mental abilities. Alcohol can also cause memory loss by interacting with medications.

 

Memory loss describes unusual forgetfulness and difficulties remembering recent or past events. As you get older and your brain function declines naturally, you may be at increased risk for developing memory loss. You can also experience memory loss as the result of:

  • Stroke

  • Head trauma

  • Cancer treatments

  • Brain infection or tumor

 

Additionally, several different factors can contribute to premature memory loss at a younger age, including vitamin deficiencies and certain medications.

 

Memory loss may also result from more degenerative severe brain changes that lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Some people experience pseudo-dementia symptoms similar to dementia but originate from another underlying condition like depression.

 

Reversible memory loss can be caused by:

  • Medications. Certain medications or a combination of drugs can cause forgetfulness or confusion.

  • Minor head trauma or injury. Even if you don't lose consciousness, a head injury from a fall or accident can cause memory problems.

  • Emotional disorders. Stress, anxiety, or depression can cause forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and other problems that disrupt daily activities.

  • Alcoholism. Chronic alcoholism can seriously impair mental abilities. Alcohol can also cause memory loss by interacting with medications.

  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency. A vitamin B-12 deficiency — common in older adults — can cause memory problems. Vitamin B-12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells.

  • Hypothyroidism. An under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can cause forgetfulness and other thinking problems.

  • Brain diseases. A tumor or infection in the brain can cause memory problems or other dementia-like symptoms.

How is memory loss diagnosed?

 

There can be a garden variety of underlying issues that can trigger memory loss, so Elevate medical works closely with you to first rule out existing health issues.

 

Experts at Elevate medical conduct a comprehensive review of your personal and family medical history and your existing health; your provider can pinpoint physical and mental conditions that contribute to loss of memory.

 

Your provider at Elevate medical may request blood testing to determine if you have a vitamin or nutritional deficiency that can affect your memory and brain function. They may use diagnostic imaging tests like a CT scan or MRI to confirm or rule out brain infections and tumors.

 

Once they understand your overall health and symptoms, the team creates an individualized treatment plan that focuses on preserving your brain health and protecting your quality of life.

 

In addition to a general physical exam, your doctor will likely conduct question-and-answer tests to judge your memory and other thinking skills. They may also order blood tests and brain-imaging tests that can help identify reversible causes of memory problems and dementia-like symptoms.

 

You might be referred to a specialist in diagnosing dementia or memory disorders, such as a neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or geriatrician.

How is memory loss treated?

 

Your treatment plan for memory loss depends on the root cause diagnosis. Elevate medical works closely with you to ensure you have the support you need at home.

 

If you have memory loss issues due to head trauma or an infection, your provider may prescribe rest and medications to help you heal. Ongoing cognitive monitoring may be necessary to ensure your brain heals properly.

 

In some cases, psychotherapy is beneficial for helping you cope with the changes in your life due to memory loss and its underlying cause. Talk therapy provides you with tools to manage stroke and physical trauma after-effects. 

 

When memory loss relates to a disease like dementia, Elevate medical may recommend medications to slow the progression of the disease. They can also recommend dietary improvements to support your brain function.

 

If you have concerns about your unusual forgetfulness or overall cognitive health, schedule a memory loss evaluation by calling the Elevate medical office or booking an online appointment.