As people age, they jokingly talk about loosing their keys more. Sometimes they walk into a room and forget why they’re there. Is memory loss really a sign of old age? Can the normal aging process result in absentmindedness, forgetfulness and disorientation? Should these things be cause for concern in a normally healthy adult? If senility is not caused by old age, what does cause it? My opinion is that old age, in and of itself, doesn’t cause memory loss. I did some research and here’s what I found.
Short Term / Long Term
There are normal and abnormal memory loss issues that occur as we age. It’s completely normal to have short term memory loss as we age. It’s not normal to lose long term memory. Short term memory loss means we may forget our keys or something we were supposed to do today. Long term memory loss might be something like not remembering our children when we see them or forgetting we are even married at all, or where we live. This is an indication there may be a problem other than aging.
What Causes Short Term Memory Loss?
The long time belief among medical professionals is that there is some evidence to support memory loss due to aging, but that it doesn’t happen to everyone. My understanding, based on my research, is that as we age, we begin to lose brain cells. This begins shortly after we reach maturity. We also produce less of the chemicals we need to support memory. Long term memory is stored in a more self sustaining area of the brain. So short term memory loss is normal with aging, although not inevitable.
What Can We Do?
There are many ways to keep the brain in tip top shape as we age. Good nutrition plays a huge role in helping the brain produce what it needs to stay in working order. Supplementing with Omega 3 supports many areas of the brain. So does getting your antioxidants daily. You can also exercise the brain by doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, playing cards and even playing board games with the family. Keep the brain busy and it will last you well into old age.
The latest research indicates that memory loss as we age may be caused by lesions in the brain. Research subjects who had passed on were analyzed by autopsy. It seems those with memory loss had a larger incidence of brain lesions. Research also showed memory loss in old age was mainly caused by diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimers.