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  • 02Oct

    Losing your memory – why do elderly people face memory problems?

    As the time goes by  and we become older, many changes happen to our body. The immunity tends to become low and people are more likely to encounter many infectious and non-infectious diseases as well as age associated disorders. Losing memory is one of the major challenges of the old age group. Most elderly people experience either short or long-term memory loss. Unlike other disorders, memory loss is considered as irreversible. However, it is true that memory loss is not a part of normal aging. It has some other reasons.


    Types of memory loss

    Losing your memory can be of two types: temporary memory loss or permanent memory loss.

    Temporary memory loss refers to the inability to remember. It is considered as a short-term memory loss. The incidents, names, places or whatever we forget for an instant, will be retrieved or remembered after a while. As we have said earlier, memory loss is not necessarily age induced – it can affect any individual of any age.

    Permanent memory loss is much more serious disorder which occurs due to the damage in the brain cells.

    Neural network

    Neural network

    Brain

    There are two main groups of cells in brain – glial and nerve cells (neurons). The main objective of glial cells is to form myelin sheath that is used to that maintain homeostasis, support and protect neurons. Nerve cells are considered to be the most important cells in brain. Neurons are connected to each other via synapses and form neural networks. Within these networks they are able to communicate with each other by emitting electrical and chemical signals that are transmitted via synapses. Brain consists of a many portions responsible for different functions – behavior, learning ability, physiology, etc. Hippocampus is the region of brain associated with memory and remembrance.

    Memory

    Memory is a processes of encoding, storing and retrieving information. Information is stored in neurons and synapses. There may be some natural or unnatural changes that will alter synaptic transmission between neurons. This ineffective communication within neural networks can cause memory problems.

    Reasons behind memory problems

    What is the reason behind the memory loss? Why are we losing memory? We all know that as we become older, our body functions start decreasing due to the number of damages caused to cells and tissues. Brain cells are also age-sensible. The severity of memory loss depends on the intensity of cell damage of Hippocampus. There may be many reasons behind it, some of them are:

    • Insufficient nutrition of brain cells due to decreased blood flow to the brain
    • Impaired growth of brain cells due to the lack of certain hormones that play an important role in protection and repairing of neurons
    • Due to any accidents like stroke, blocks, thrombosis or other brain injuries
    • It also occurs because of some diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, amnesia, dementia or Parkinson’s disease

    Recognizing the problem

    Most of elderly people are worried about their physical and mental inabilities and consider themselves as disturbance to others. They are always concerned about their unexplained forgetfulness. These thoughts leads to many psychological or emotional factors like stress, anxiety, tension, fear and some sort of inferiority complexes. Emotional disturbances alter normal physiological and hormonal functions and may lead to further damage of neural connections. This leads to the increase of incidence of memory loss  and one’s condition becomes worse.

    Usually inability to remember or forgetting things are the only visible symptoms of more serious disorders. If the memory loss happens due to any illness like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, an individual may show signs and symptoms according to the characteristics of the specific disease. However there are many cases when a reason of memory loss cannot be scientifically diagnosed.

    Sometimes we can assess brain’s memory function by X-rays study, CT scan, MRI scan if the problem was caused by an accident like stroke, thrombosis or blocks. Usually there are intellectual tests conducted to determine the type and severity of memory loss.

    Treatment

    In fact, there is no guaranteed treatment preventing memory loss. The treatment only delays the process of losing memory.

    The recent studies shows that heredity and our lifestyle play an important role in the occurrence of unnatural memory loss.  Early treatment and changes in lifestyle can do a lot to prevent this. Eating food rich in antioxidants is a good way of improving memory power by neutralizing free radicals of oxygen that cause serious damage to brain cells. Garlic, ginger, apple, grapes, red wine and blueberries are a natural source of antioxidants, so it is beneficial to introduce them into your daily diet.

    Anna L.

    It’s all about health!
    I have academic background in drugs related Chemical Technology, as well as extensive professional experience in pharma and medical companies. My main area of interest is everyday life medicine. The goal of my articles is to give people informative answers to the questions that bother them, to dispel doubts and some common misbeliefs and also to inspire everyone to keep healthy lifestyle.

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