Health One Family Medicine

Memory Loss: When Should I Be Concerned?

Misplacing your glasses, forgetting a name or losing track of your appointment – this happens to the best of us. We barely give much attention to these memory lapses when we are young. However, as time passes, we begin stressing and worrying about these lapses. It is a fact that as we grow old, there are certain changes in our brain and body that are inevitable; however major memory loss is not a part of aging as it indicates a cognitive issue. This is the reason it is essential to know the difference between normal memory lapses and the ones that indicate you might be developing dementia or other related problem.  

Age–Related Memory Issues

Occasional loss of memory and forgetfulness is a usual part of the process of aging. It is not a sign of dementia or other mental deterioration. The following memory lapses are typically experienced by senior adults:

  • Forgetting occasionally where things were put, for instance keys or glasses
  • Not remembering some names and certain memories by confusing them with similar events.
  • Forgetting why you walked in to a room or opened the fridge for
  • Not remembering that you had an appointment
  • Getting distracted easily or forgetting what you just read
  • Not recalling some details of a conversation you recently had
  • Unable to retrieve information which is just ‘on the tip of your tongue’

These are the usual symptoms of getting old and are not something to be concerned about.

Dementia Related Memory Loss  

The memory loss that comes with age doesn’t have a major impact on your everyday abilities and performances. However, memory loss from dementia results in a disabling decline which is persistent in more than two intellectual abilities: abstract thinking, judgment, language and memory. If your memory lapses are getting too frequent and severe that they start disrupting your everyday activities, relationships, work and other areas of your life then it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The following are some warning signs that might indicate dementia:

  • Facing frequent disruption in daily activities, simple tasks like washing up, paying bills and forgetting how to perform tasks you have gone through numerous times.
  • Difficulty remembering or describing specific details.
  • Getting disoriented or lost even in places you are familiar with or difficulty in following direction.
  • Frequently forgetting, garbling or misusing words, repeating stories and phrases in a single conversation.
  • Facing issues in making decisions and choices, showing poor judgment or behaving inappropriately.

If you are experiencing above mentioned symptoms then it is important that you consult your doctor to check for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and to start appropriate treatment.

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) Related Memory Loss

This is a stage between severe problems like dementia and typical age related changes. MCI includes issues with judgment, thinking, language, and memory which are bigger than typical age related issues and require medical attention to prevent them from getting severe. MCI symptoms include:

  • Misplacing and losing things frequently
  • Forgetting events, appointments and conversations frequently
  • Not remembering names
  • Inability of following a conversation

While forgetfulness may not be a cause of concern, its severity and frequency can signal a cognitive issue. This is especially true if you have dementia or Alzheimer’s in your family history. Early detection can help in preventing or delaying it from getting severe. Dr. Parikh has years of experience working with families who suffer from different levels of memory loss. Visit or call (469)262-5762 to make an appointment.