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Memory Lapses or Memory Losses?

June 1, 2015

As we age, memory lapses become common. It’s annoying to forget where you put your key, but it’s not unusual (and treatable). But, if you forget what a key is for or how to use it, you may have what doctors call dementia.

Normal Memory Lapses

  • You are worried about your memory, but your relatives are not.
  • You remember the incidents of memory losses.
  • You have occasional difficulty finding words or remembering names.
  • You remember important events.
  • You remain interested in people and your social skills are intact.
  • You can function independently.
  • You don’t get lost in familiar territory, though you may have to pause to find your way.

Non-Normal Memory Losses

  • Relatives are concerned, but you are not aware of the problem.
  • You do not remember the events.
  • You demonstrates frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words.
  • You forget important things.
  • You become withdrawn or behaves inappropriately.
  • You grows dependent on others for activities of daily life.
  • You get lost while driving or walking; may take hours to get home.

Serious memory loss is usually identified by a relative or friend.

Tips for Keeping your Memory

  • Get mental stimulation. Do something NEW, be it reading a new book, word puzzles, any new craft, or Brain exercise programs.
  • Get your Heart in Shape. Exercise daily, at least 30-minutes a day. Keep your calories down, load up on fruits, vegetables, and fish. Cut down on saturated and trans fats and salt (sodium). Keep your cholesterol down. If you have high blood-pressure (hypertension) get it treated.
  • Improve your Blood Sugar. Diabetes is a major risk factor, for memory loss.
  • Avoid tobacco. This is the most important way to prevent disease.
  • Don’t abuse alcohol. People who drink heavily are courting disaster.
  • Consider low-dose aspirin. Some evidence suggests that long-term use of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce the risk of memory loss. Ask your doctor before start using aspirin.
  • Stay calm. Stress, depression and sleep deprivation impair mental function.
  • Protect your head. Wear a helmet were necessary. Head injuries increase the risk of memory loss.

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