Does Any Memory Loss Indicate Alzheimer’s Disease?
According to doctors, multiple factors are responsible for the tendency of young people to forget things. These include lack of sleep, too much screen time on devices, irregular food intake, and stressful lifestyles.
While these are not a sign of Alzheimer’s disease now, “having such a lifestyle for a long time can lead to an increased risk of forgetting later in life,” IANS told IANS Dr Prem Naganath Narsimhan, Jaslok Hospital and Research Center.
Lifestyle modification, good sleep hygiene, a balanced diet and exercise can prevent these failures, he added.
“Forgetting is not the one and only symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, there are other signs and symptoms, and when they occur together, only then is the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease made”, Dr AK Sahani, senior consultant and head of neurology, Indian Spinal Injury Center, said IANS.
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that causes memory loss, confusion, and personality changes, and limits an individual’s ability to act independently. It is the most common type of dementia and has different stages. While initially people with this disease have only a small amount of memory loss and confusion, in the final stage Alzheimer’s disease can make them unable even to speak to family members.
So what are the signs and symptoms that distinguish Alzheimer’s disease from forgetfulness due to old age?
“Forgetting due to normal aging will sometimes lead a person to make the wrong decision. On the other hand, Alzheimer’s disease will quite often lead to poor judgment and decision making. For example, while you may miss a monthly payment as a forgetful person, you may forget your bills for longer with Alzheimer’s disease, ”Sahani said.
As a forgetful person, you might not remember the day of the week, but you remember it later. For a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, it is difficult to keep track of the date or time of the year. Alzheimer’s patients also have difficulty initiating a conversation when a forgetful person may not be able to remember one or a few words from the entire conversation, he said.
“Alzheimer’s disease causes immediate, recent and subsequent long-distance memory loss, language dysfunction, disorientation of places, miscalculations and executive dysfunctions. Alzheimer’s disease usually sets in after the sixth decade of life; but in a small number of cases it can begin as early as the third-fourth decade. History of memory loss patterns, rate of progression and various brain imaging modalities like brain MRI / functional imaging like PET etc. Narayana Superspecialty Hospital in Delhi told IANS.
What’s more, “even emotional issues and mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress or depression, can also cause forgetfulness that can be mistaken for dementia,” Sahani said.
The Covid has also made the situation worse. Studies have shown that Covid-19 can lead to Alzheimer’s-type cognitive impairment. This includes a long condition of Covid – poor concentration and difficulty remembering.
Certain medical conditions can also affect the way the brain works. These include, but are not limited to: a few types of thyroid, kidney or liver disorders, heavy alcohol consumption, infections or tumors in the brain or blood clots, head trauma, side effects of any medication; and deficiencies in vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, doctors said.
A healthy and balanced diet, exercise, regular sleep, social engagement, stress management – all can help prevent disease.