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Amnesia

Amnesia
Memory loss, also called amnesia, happens when a person loses the ability to remember information and events they would normally be able to recall.
It could be something that happened seconds or minutes ago, or a memorable event that occurred in the past. The loss of memory may have started suddenly, or it may have been getting worse over the last year or so.
Memory loss can be distressing for the person affected, and their family. Relatives may fear the worst and assume it's caused by dementia, but this often isn't the case.
The following information will tell you:

  1. What to do if you're worried about memory loss
  2. How to tell if it could be caused by dementia
  3. The most common causes of memory loss (but don't rely on this to self-diagnose a condition)
  4. How to cope with a poor memory


Types
Memory loss has a wide range of possible causes, depending on the type of memory loss.
Doctors classify memories as either:
  1. Immediate memories – such as sounds, which are only stored for a few seconds
  2. Short-term or recent memories – such as telephone numbers, which stay in your memory for 15 to 20 seconds; the brain can store about seven chunks of short-term information at any time
  3. Long-term or remote memories – more permanent memories, which have been reinforced because you've repeatedly gone over them in your mind
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist doctor if he thinks you or your relative needs an assessment for dementia, or that there may be another more serious underlying condition, such as brain damage.

Causes
Most of the time memory loss is a result of poor concentration and not noticing things in the first place because of a lack of interest. Sleeping problems often make the memory loss worse.
Doctors often find that people who see them about memory loss are most likely to have:
  1. Anxiety
  2. Stress
  3. Depression
  4. Head injury – for example, after a car accident
  5. Stroke – this cuts off some of the blood supply to the brain and causes brain tissue to die
Signs
Dementia usually occurs in people over the age of 65.
The memory loss doesn't happen suddenly, but gets gradually worse over time.

Someone with dementia will struggle to remember immediate or recent events, but can still recall events that happened a long time ago. This means that if their long-term memory is affected, it probably isn't dementia.


Useful Tips
Keep everyday items, such as car keys, in the same place and try to do things in the same order each time.
Write information down, and keep paper and a pencil near the phone.
Keep a diary at home as well as at work to remind you to do daily tasks.
Use an alarm to help you remember to do something in the future, such as taking something out of the oven.
Repeat important information you need to remember back to someone.



Medicines & Drugs (A-Z)