Does memory loss always=Alzheimer’s disease?

If you or someone you know notices changes in their short term memory, consider the following 5 tips:

1. There are many causes for memory loss.

For example, mood changes, stress, sleep problems, diet changes, medication reactions, thyroid problems, low vitamin B12, and others. Strokes can also cause memory loss and other cognitive symptoms. Stroke caused changes are different than Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias as they are not a progressive continuous loss of a cognitive functioning, but rather a single event. Keep in mind with many mini strokes a persons cognitive impairment may progressive get worse, this is known as Vascular Cognitive Impairment, or Vascular Dementia. These causes of memory loss named in this paragraph are mostly treatable. By getting to your doctor soon, you can uncover and address these problems.

2. Sometimes what we think is memory loss is actually problems with our attention.

Instead of memory failing us, our ability to pay close attention to details is failing. Therefore, we cannot recall details later since they were never absorbed. There could be reasons behind a change in attention. Usually this has to do with stress, how much is on your mind, and also mood changes like anxiety or depression. Although changes in attention may be the problem, this symptom is also found in various dementia disorders and may be worth a check by your physician.

3. If you are concerned about your memory, attention or other cognitive abilities, talk to your doctor about it.

Your primary physician may be able to tell you more about your symptoms or their causes, or order a few blood tests and perhaps brain scans to help investigate the problem. Furthermore, they may be able to refer you to a local specialist in memory care. Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias has become more and more important.

4. Alzheimer’s disease is more than just memory loss.

 Check out these 10 Warning Signs from the Alzheimer’s Association and see if there are other problems you have noticed lately. If so, and these changes are affecting how you live your life, please see your physician for a check up and talk about these concerns. Perhaps even bring the 10 warning signs list to show your concern. Keep in mind that not all physicians are very well informed about Alzheimer’s disease .

5. Talk to your friends and family and see if they are noticing any concerns about your memory changes.

Or, if it is someone else you are concerned about, speak with others in this person’s life and find out more about how this person is living our their everyday. When you are 68 years old, your memory is naturally not going to be as strong as it was when you were 28, but that does not mean you have a dementia disease like Alzheimer’s. However, blaming memory loss on age is a fine line to walk as we do not want to discredit real symptoms of a real problem.  I hope these five tips have brought you new information when considering what is causing any memory or cognitive changes. The bottom line is talk with your doctor about any cognitive changes no matter what your age.   ***Thanks to everyone’s idle for the picture used in this post. And also a very big thanks to Heidi Enriquez for editing this blog post


  • Marla Levie

    Jaimie: You bring up such excellent points. Thank you for sharing. Also, I have always recommended your NWH center for my clients, and now my aunt is a client of your program and is receiving such thorough assessments. You and your team deliver news in such a compassionate and pro-active manner. Thank you!

  • Jaimie

    Hi Marla,

    Thank you for your very nice comments. I am glad you enjoyed this article. Also, I am glad you have had such a good experience with our team at the Cogntive Neurology and Alzheimer’s disease Center, that is great to hear.

    Take care,

  • Emily

    Great post, Jaimie!

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