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What Is Memory Loss? Types and Causes of Memory Loss - DementiaGuide - DementiaGuide.com
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Memory Loss

Posted on May 12, 2008 by DementiaGuide


What is memory loss?

Memory loss is the decline in one's ability to remember facts, processes, and ideas, often affecting one's ability to function independently on a day-to-day basis. Memory loss can occur as a normal result of aging, or in conjunction with a general cognitive decline, or a decline in one's ability to think, understand, learn, remember, focus, act normally, and communicate.

Types of memory loss

Short-term memory loss involves temporary problems recalling information such as phone numbers, names, and addresses. Long-term recent memory loss involves trouble recalling events that occurred in the recent past, such as what you ate for dinner last night, or who you went to visit this morning. Finally, long-term remote memory loss involves trouble remembering facts that you learned or events that occurred years ago. Memory loss or basic forgetfulness resulting from normal aging is often innocuous and does not necessarily indicate a more serious condition or a decline in cognitive ability. However, any signs of memory loss should be discussed with a medical professional.

What causes memory loss?

Memory loss is often a direct result of aging, head trauma, or serious diseases that tend to develop with age such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, or Huntington's disease. Memory loss can also be caused by lesser known factors such as repeated engagement in emotionally and intellectually stressful situations; chronic depression and anxiety; the use of certain medications to treat allergies, depression, anxiety, or other more serious psychiatric disorders; prolonged alcohol and illicit drug abuse; infections caused by other medical diseases; sleep deprivation or sleep apnea; thyroid dysfunction, and nutritional deficiencies. Likewise, memory loss is a hallmark symptom of dementia, which can be defined as the decline in memory and cognitive ability that may develop with aging, or as a result of other serious medical conditions.

Additional Resources

Coping With Memory Loss - FDA
Memory Loss - MedlinePlus

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