Is it Normal Forgetfulness, or Early Alzheimer’s?

Published: 09th March 2007
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Do you ever experience any episodes of forgetfulness?



Of course you do, it's part of being human.



However, when we are younger, perhaps in our twenties and thirties, we usually don't take forgetfulness very seriously. When we're young, we hardly ever think we must have Alzheimer's Disease just because we forgot something.



If we forget something in our twenties, we're likely to think it's just the result of being preoccupied with something else, or the result of stress.



However, as we get older, it's likely that our forgetfulness will become more common, and perhaps more alarming. When we reach our fifties and sixties, it's much more likely that when we forget something, we may think to ourselves, "That's the second time this week I've forgotten something important. I must be getting Alzheimer's."



Alzheimer's is a very serious brain disease that gradually destroys our brain cells, and with them, our memories, our sense of who we are, and our ability to think, plan, or live independently.



How can we tell when whether we are experiencing normal forgetfulness due to aging, or if we are actually getting Alzheimer's disease?



It's actually difficult even for medical professionals to know whether a person has Alzheimer's disease, or whether there is some other problem causing memory loss, especially in the early stages of forgetfulness. Early symptoms of Alzheimer's can be confused with many other problems.



Should you be worried if you forget the name of a person you met a year ago? Probably not. An inability to recall names of people you don't see often is quite common as we get older. Usually it's not a sign of serious memory problems.



If you occasionally can't remember where you put your keys, or if you enter a room and can't remember why, it probably isn't anything serious.



Here is a list of some memory problems that should be investigated further, as they might signal a more serious medical issue.



· repeating the same phrase, sentence, or story several times within a short period of time



· forgetting the names of familiar objects



· forgetting how to use familiar machinery



· getting lost in familiar neighborhoods



· a personality change which may appear slowly over a prolonged period, or come on very quickly



Correctly diagnosing the reason for memory problems can take a while, and will involve a number of tests by a qualified medical expert. There is currently no reliable test for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease, so doctors must rule every thing else out first.



In some cases, memory problems in older people can be reversible.



Memory problems in older people can be caused by prescription medications, by poor blood circulation to the brain, by malnourishment, dehydration, or may be a sign of depression.



If you are experiencing episodes of memory loss that seem to be more serious than normal forgetfulness, no matter what your age, have yourself tested by a medical expert who is very knowledgeable about diagnosing memory problems.



Remember, that in many cases, it won't be Alzheimer's disease. It's quite possible that your memory loss may normal and simply due to aging, or it may have a cause that can easily be diagnosed, and perhaps even reversed.



This article was written by Royane Real, author of "How You Can Be Smarter - Use Your Brain to Learn Faster, Remember Better and Be More Creative" To learn more about how to look after your brain and get better performance out of it, download it today at http://www.lulu.com/real

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