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Forgetting names - Is it Alzheimer's?

06/15/2009 - Questions and Answers

Forgetting names - Is it Alzheimer's?

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Question

I'm 68 and still working, but in my job I find I'm forgetting people's names, and the more I try to remember the harder it gets.

Then the name pops into my head half-an-hour later, but by then the client has gone. Am I getting Alzheimer's, and what can I do about it?
 

Answer

You mention your age, and that you are still working which is good for mental and physical stimulus. However, aging may affect memory by changing the way your brain stores information and by making it harder to recall stored information. Your short-term and remote memories aren't usually affected by aging. But your very recent memory may be affected. You may forget names of people you've met recently. Please know that these are normal changes. A memory problem is serious when it affects your daily living. If you sometimes forget names, you're probably okay. But you may have a more serious problem if you have trouble remembering how to do things you've done many times before, getting to a place you've been to often, or doing things that use steps, like following a recipe. Another difference between normal memory problems and dementia is that normal memory loss doesn't get much worse over time. Dementia gets much worse over several months to several years. See related links below.This information about Alzheimer's Disease may be helpful: The maintenance of your learning process throughout life plays a significant role in the prevention of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). So many people stop growing intellectually at retirement and lapse into a physically, as well as mentally, sedentary lifestyle, often in conjunction with a significant increase in alcohol consumption. Take a few classes, read books, travel, volunteer, or even get a part-time job. Any, or all, of these activities keep life interesting and challenging, as well as fun. If you are concerned about AD, the best thing one can do regarding self help is to live a healthy lifestyle by eating low fat high fibre heart healthy food, keep cholesterol levels down, have regular exercise, no smoking , enjoy the pleasure of friendship and keep your mind stimulated, and an interest in things around you. If you have had anyone in your family with AD ( a genetic link) it may be wise to discuss your concerns regarding your forgetfulness with your family doctor, if only to put your mind at ease.
 

Related Links
Memory Loss With Aging: What's Normal, What's Not
FAQs about Memory loss
Leisure Activities Help the Brain Stay Sharp
Avoiding Alzheimer's
One More Time . . .Use It or Lose It?
Preventing Alzheimer's Disease

Created on: 08/08/2006
Reviewed on: 06/15/2009

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