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Memory Problems – When Are They Normal?

Everyone forgets things from time to time. Today, I forgot where my wallet was and spent 30 minutes frantically looking for it, only to find it was a few feet from where I usually place it. We’ve all been there. After all, it’s part of the human experience. Sometimes we misplace items, we forget someone’s name, or maybe even what day of the week it is. You would be surprised how often people have trouble with their memory occasionally.

I think it’s safe to say that no one wants to lose their memory. Some worry and even panic at the thought of this very issue. They may feel like they’re losing their mind, growing too old or suffering the consequences of a far worse medical fate. But here’s what I must emphasize to you, the reader: it does not always mean something serious.

Normal Memory Problems Versus The Extreme

With the craziness and complexity of our daily lives, it could be a result of a myriad of things. From stress about school or work, to any form of trauma, to lack of sleep, to a new medication – there are so many reasons why you may be experiencing memory problems. Sometimes you may not have to realize your worst fears. Don’t panic just yet! Let’s look into a few reasons why you may be experiencing these issues.

Instead of listing symptoms of different things, let’s take this time to reflect on what you’re experiencing. To start off, here’s a great infographic from the National Institute of Aging, comparing normal forgetfulness to Alzheimer’s disease:


Do you see the difference between the “Normal Aging” and “Alzheimer’s Disease” columns? It is astronomical, with said difference being that one can be an inconvenience at the time versus the other making horrific impacts on your life. Pay attention to what you’re experiencing. What kind of things are you forgetting? How often? When? What kind of impact is it having on your life?

Reasons For Memory Problems

Now, Alzheimer’s should not be the go-to reason for any type of memory issue. I used this demonstrate a point and show an extreme end of the problem. There are just too many things that could be going on, with some requiring some small lifestyle changes and some requiring more in-depth medical assistance.

Here is a variety of reasons that can lead to issues with your memory:

  • Aging
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of certain vitamins and minerals (such as B12)
  • Not eating enough healthy foods
  • Stress from school, work, or home life
  • Emotional problems, such as anxiety, depression or grief
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
  • Use of alcohol or substances
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Effects of medications or medication withdrawal
  • Head injuries (such as a concussion)
  • Tumors, blood clots or infections of the brain
  • Some disorders of the thyroid, kidney or liver

How are you supposed to know which is the reason? Well…that’s why you need to see a medical professional if you’ve noticed any problems, have questions or want to discuss concerns.

What To Do With This Information

It was not my intention to scare you with all the above-listed reasons. In fact, it was meant to encourage you a little bit. The point of all of this was that, although it is possible your worst fears about your memory could be realized, there’s also a chance that it is something far easier to deal with. It could be something as minor as a dietary or medication change. It could MCI or the aftermath of a concussion. It’s hard to say without a proper diagnosis. But here’s the thing…

Everything that was just listed has some form of solution!

I won’t lie to you here – some things are not curable. Some things are more difficult to prevent. However, with the advancements in medicine that have been made up until now, something CAN be done. Whether it is medication to treat symptoms, being referred to a specialist for further treatment, or just helping you understand what is going on to get you on your feet again, something can be done. This is why it is vital to observe everything that is going on to be able to properly convey this to a doctor. The more information you can communicate, the better the diagnosis. And the better the diagnosis, the sooner you can take control of these issues.

Where We Come In

Here at Advanced Internal Medicine, we deal with memory problems and we want to do everything in our power to treat you. Our doctors and nurses are clinically trained to take on more ailments and illnesses than you can think of, and they will do all they can to make sure you feel in control of your life once more. Let’s talk about what’s going on so we can envision the best course of action.

All you need to do is visit us. Give us a call or visit us at any one of our three locations. Also, check out our website for more information on what we do at advancedinternalmedicinega.org!