Brain Health

Is it Alzheimer’s?

As you age, you may have concerns about not being as sharp as you once were. Names get tricky and words are at the tip of your tongue. The risk of Alzheimer’s increases as you age, but before you jump to conclusions, you should know these common causes of memory lapses that are not Alzheimer’s.

Lack of Sleep 

You might not be sleeping as soundly as you used to based on multiple factors. Waking up often and not settling into a deep sleep are common reasons why seniors are not able to get their recommended amount of rest. Not getting ample amounts of rest may cause mood changes and anxiety, both of which can lead to memory problems. 

Stress

When you are stressed out, your brain has a harder time focusing and paying attention to detail. You may get confused more easily, become more forgetful, or have a harder time concentrating. Storing new memories and retrieving old memories may be more difficult when your brain is working to overcome other emotional distress. 

Medications

The amount and type of medications you consume daily may interfere with your memory. It could be from taking one specific drug or from taking a combination of medications. It’s a bit worrisome the amount of drugs that can affect your brain and memory. Here is a list to watch out for, as these medications could possibly be why you aren’t feeling as sharp.

  • Anti-anxiety drugs
  • Cholesterol drugs (Statins)
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Antidepressant drugs (Tricyclic antidepressants)
  • Narcotic painkillers
  • Parkinson’s drugs (Dopamine agonists)
  • Hypertension drugs (Beta-blockers)
  • Sleeping aids (Nonbenzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics)
  • Antihistamines

Depression

Lack of drive, extreme sadness, or a decreased pleasure in the previous joys in your life are some symptoms of depression.Memory loss can also be a consequence of depression and have been seen to be linked together

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, also known as an under-active thyroid, can affect your memory or thinking problems. To know if you are experiencing low thyroid levels, a simple blood test can let you and your physician know. A medication can be taken to get your levels back in recommended range, which can help sharpen your memory

Vitamin B12 Deficiency 

Just as with a lot of vitamins, when we age, our bodies might not absorb as many nutrients as easily as they once did. Your body could be low in vitamin B12, resulting in memory lapses. Vitamin B-12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells, so when your body doesn’t have enough, you could experience forgetfulness or confusion. 

Before you jump to conclusions and think you may be experiencing symptoms of onset Alzehimers, check to see if your memory problems could be stemming from any of the listed causes first. The good news is that all of these can be fixed or at least helped by starting with natural alternatives.

You can do things to help improve your sleep and stress levels like doing yoga, meditating, or avoiding screen time before bed. You can talk to your doctor about switching medications if you are getting the impression that one may be affecting your cognitive abilities. 

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