Forgetfulness May Be A Sign Of A Busy Life—Or Something More Serious

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MONROE—If you frequently forget where you put your keys and are constantly misplacing things, it could mean you have a lot on your mind. It also could be an early sign of memory loss.

“Clearly, we lead busy lives,” said Jose C. Vigario, D.O. director of The Memory Center, a service of the Comprehensive Care Group at Monroe, operated by Saint Peter’s University Hospital. “It’s a constant battle to keep everything organized in our time-pressed days and cluttered minds. But not everyone who forgets his or her keys is simply juggling too much in this information-laden world. Some of us actually forget our keys for a reason—memory loss may be setting in.”

We lose our memory for various reasons—none of them related to the natural aging process, according to Dr. Vigario. The reasons are all medical. They include: depression, infections, seizures, mini-strokes, brain tumors, dementia and even problems relating to the heart. In some cases, that loss is reversible. For example, with depression, there is memory loss because of a lack of focus and attention. When depression is treated, memory returns. In other cases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the loss is not reversible. But often, if caught early on, its progression can be slowed.

Forgetfulness can be an early sign of these more serious conditions. Or it could simply be a sign of stress. Here are some common symptoms.

Stress Vs. Memory Loss
Signs of stress may include:

  • Misplacing objects such as keys
  • Forgetting where you parked your car
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Finding simple things difficult to approach
  • Feeling on edge, frustrated or annoyed
  • Lacking energy
  • Feeling overwhelmed

Signs of early memory loss may include:

  • Misplacing objects such as keys
  • Forgetting where you parked your car
  • Taking longer to recall information
  • Forgetting things on a regular basis

Signs of serious memory loss may include:

  • Asking the same questions over and over again
  • Becoming lost in places you know well
  • Not being able to follow directions
  • Becoming confused about time, people and places
  • Behavior changes such as eating poorly, not bathing or practicing unsafe behaviors
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks such as cooking, driving and paying bills on time

“If you think you are showing the initial signs of memory loss, get a medical evaluation,” said Dr. Aijaz Hussain of The Memory Center. “Screening methods vary from a brief screening by your primary care physician to comprehensive neuropsychiatric testing with a neuropsychologist and formal evaluation with a medical specialist.”

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