About Memory Loss
As we age, disease related memory loss becomes increasingly frequent. At age 60, the chance of having abnormal memory loss is about 1 in 100. Our chances increase steadily, until at 85 our chance is about 1 in 2. So, understanding memory loss, and how to best protect ourselves from its devastating effects, is critical to maintaining our quality of life.
What is memory?
What causes memory loss?
What is Dementia?
What are the risk factors for memory loss?
Risk factors include:
- Over the age of 65
- A family history of dementia (if the onset of symptoms was before age 65, the risk can be as high as 1 in 2)
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Smoking or heavy alcohol use
- High Cholesterol
What are the warning signs for memory loss?
Warning signs of dementia:
- Difficulty finding words
- Forgetting names, phone numbers
- Forgetting conversations and details of recent events
- Losing items
- Subtle personality changes
It is important to note that most people in the early stages of dementia will not experience all the above symptoms and will often notice little if any cognitive changes. It is only when dementia hits the later stages that the symptoms become readily noticeable. It is therefore important to have a professional monitor your memory as you age.
Isn’t dementia a normal part of aging?
How do you treat memory loss?
Since 1996 many new drugs have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Several of these drugs work by slowing the breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter). These drugs all can temporarily improve or stabilize memory and many studies have shown that they help to slow the decline in mental functions in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Namenda is a drug used to treat Alzheimer’s disease that works by regulating glutamate, another neurotransmitter that is disrupted in Alzheimer’s Disease, and protecting brain cells (neurons) that are lost during Alzheimer’s Disease. Combining Namenda with drugs that promote acetylcholine offers better results than any single drug. Although none of these drugs can stop or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s Disease, research shows that the earlier patients with Alzheimer’s Disease begin taking these medications, the longer they preserve their mental abilities.
How can MARS Memory Check-ups help?
What can I do if a family member or friend has memory loss?
Education is also critical. Many people over 55 mistakenly believe that memory loss is a normal part of aging and that nothing can be done to stop it. Help to dispel these common myths. Memory loss is not normal and it can be treated, especially when detected early.
The MARS Memory Check-up is specially designed to assess memory in a non-threatening environment. Often spouses or friends come in together to check their memories. Making appointments together often removes the imagined stigma and fear associated with a memory test.