We all have had a lapse of memory from time to time and thought nothing of it. However, repeatedly having memory problems may be a symptom of something more. Here's why your memory may be a good barometer on other health issues.
Memory lapses can range from mildly annoying such as forgetting to grab your keys as you run out the door to down right infuriating that you forgot to make a deposit and bounced a check as a result. Usually we remember after a moment or we shake our heads and move on to the next thing. However, it may be wise to pay more attention to what we're forgetting and how often.
The brain's ability to recall is a sensitive mechanism that can be greatly affected by a number of factors. Most people are familiar with the more serious lapse of memory that comes from actual disease like Alzheimer's. Physical damage to the brain interferes with the process of recall. However, the memory function is lost gradually over time not all at once. Recognizing the signs is key in getting an early diagnosis and treatment in order to preserve brain function as long as possible.
With a disease like Alzheimer's, memory lapses usually start like normal where you forget something for a moment or don't remember doing something a few days ago. However, they progress to getting more frequent with more serious and permanent loss. Things once familiar become foreign.
However, a lapse of memory doesn't necessarily mean a disease like Alzheimer's. Memory can also be impacted by things like stress, lack of sleep or even diet. Having trouble with your memory may be a sign of those things or even a illness like depression. Understanding when it is a symptom instead of a regular lapse of memory is the key.
So how do we tell the difference? It's not easy, after all memory can be somewhat subjective...some people have better recall than others. But, the trick is knowing what is normal for you and then being able to notice if it changes. If you always have trouble remembering names, but rarely forget phone numbers then you might be concerned if you started having trouble with numbers as well as names.
Frequency is also important to track. If you notice that memory lapses are happening with greater regularity then it may be a sign that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Also the type of information that is being forgotten could be telling too. If you are having trouble remembering things that were normally simple for you or if you forget things that are routine and/or very familiar to you then that would be a more serious red flag.
What do you do if you suspect that your memory lapses are something more serious? Obviously the first step is to seek medical attention. A doctor should check you out and review your diet, sleep and stress patterns with you to see if they can determine a root cause. If that doesn't seem to be it they may need to run certain tests to see if they can uncover the reason for the issue. They may also refer you to a Therapist who can rule out things like depression or some other mental health issue.
Some steps you can take to combat memory lapses and possibly restore memory function is to adjust your diet to be healthier, exercise more or perhaps take a supplement designed for supporting brain function. These combined with the advice of your doctor may help you find and address the more serious issues your lapse of memory is trying to signal.