The Difference Between Memory Loss & Alzheimer’s

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When a loved one experiences memory loss, we immediately fear permanence. We dread a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, when in fact there are multiple forms of reversible memory loss.

Does Memory Loss Always Mean Alzheimer’s?

Elderly man with dementia looking at notesWhen someone you love begins to forget small things, mix up words, or struggle with remembering directions, you wonder about the cause, and if it’s progressive. While Alzheimer’s Disease is the largest cause of memory loss in seniors, there are other reasons your loved one may be suffering. Seeking out a medical diagnosis and treatment is vital to slowing or even stopping symptoms, depending on their origin.

Often, fear of a difficult, progressive diagnosis causes individuals and family members to delay a medical consult. But if Alzheimer’s is the cause, early intervention is effective and has long term benefits. And if the memory loss is reversible, with proper treatment, you can avoid losing more time to troubling, life-disrupting symptoms.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Loss
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia, a condition naming loss of memory and other cognitive abilities necessary for daily life. The majority of people with Alzheimer’s Disease are over 65, but 200,000 Americans have early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, symptoms worsen over time. Symptoms first appear in the form of minor memory loss, usually an inability to remember newly learned information. Eventually symptoms progress into full cognitive losses including speaking and responding to the surrounding environment.

Seeking an early diagnosis is helpful in multiple ways. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, there are treatments that can lessen symptoms and slow their progression temporarily. Further, being aware of the prognosis, difficult as it is, allows families to plan for proper care.

Memory Care Communities such as the ones at Eddy Senior Living, are residential centers shaped around providing the best quality of life to those with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of progressive Dementia. Eddy Memory Care’s mission is to celebrate the talents, traditions, and pleasures of each resident, even as they navigate memory and cognitive losses.

Reversible Forms of Memory Loss
While Alzheimer’s Disease is progressive, there are a number of causes of Reversible Memory Loss. Since Alzheimer’s presents with Minor Cognitive impairment (MCI) in the beginning, it’s difficult to know if what you are encountering is reversible or progressive. Again, don’t delay scheduling a medical exam if you, or a loved one, is facing memory loss.

Certain reactions to medications, or combinations of medications result in memory impairment. A minor head injury or trauma, from a fall or car accident, can affect memory, even if you never lost consciousness. A history of alcoholism negatively affects memory and cognitive abilities. Alcohol can also interact with medications to cause memory loss.

There might be another physical condition resulting in loss of memory. A deficiency in Vitamin b-12, which helps sustain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells, can cause memory problems in older adults. Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid gland, can result in memory loss. Brain diseases, such as brain tumor or infection can affect the parts of the brain managing memory. Each of these conditions can be treated with medical care, and treatment is most effective when started early.

Steps to Take with Memory Loss
Almost all fear is fear of the unknown. Therefore what’s the remedy? To become acquainted with the things you fear.” Peace Pilgrim

When a loved one experiences memory loss it triggers anxiety for family and friends. This anxiety can delay meeting with a doctor for a diagnosis. But the cause of memory loss may be reversible with treatment. And if it’s not reversible, it can be slowed or prepared for more adequately.

Make the unknown known by consulting with a doctor about a loved one’s memory loss. Fear is paralyzing, and whether the diagnosis is progressive or reversible, knowing illuminates a path forward in care. While memory loss is a strong indicator of Alzheimer’s Disease, it may result from another condition. Schedule an appointment with a Health Care Provider today and begin working with answers, not just questions.

Memory Care Communities at Eddy Senior Living

If your journey leads you to find a memory care community, we invite you to tour the Eddy Memory Care Community at Marjorie Doyle Rockwell Center in Cohoes and the Eddy Memory Care Community at Eddy Hawthorne Ridge in East Greenbush. The Eddy is committed to improving the quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia through innovative memory care in a warm, homelike environment, where dignity and independence come first. Contact us or call (518) 280-8385 to speak directly with a senior living specialist and schedule a tour.