4 Misconceptions Surrounding What Causes Memory Loss

September 15, 2023 | Memory Support
what causes memory loss

As people age, minor lapses of memory and moments of forgetfulness are common. Misplacing car keys or forgetting somebody’s name are regular occurrences that can happen to everybody now and again. However, many people tend to associate memory loss with signs of dementia. 

While cognitive changes and dementia are linked together, it’s important to note that dementia is an “umbrella term” used to describe several conditions that affect memory, other cognitive abilities, and behavior that interfere with a person’s ability to maintain their activities of daily living.

At Astral at Auburn, our memory care community is dedicated to providing moments of joy and fulfillment for our residents in Auburn, Indiana. When it comes to what causes memory loss, we want to provide information so individuals and families recognize when memory loss and forgetfulness is a cause for concern. Here are four common misconceptions that surround memory loss and dementia and the truth behind each.

Myth #1: Memory loss means that a person has dementia.

Almost 40% of people over the age of 65 will experience some form of memory problem due to natural aging, and even if a person does experience memory loss, the chances of that person having dementia are incredibly low. Mostly, memory loss cases are mild enough that they are not associated with any form of dementia. 

Age-associated memory loss and forgetfulness that doesn’t disrupt daily life, doesn’t affect your ability to complete daily tasks, doesn’t make it difficult to learn new things or participate in activities and is not caused by any medical condition is not a form of dementia.  

However, suppose you or someone you love is experiencing memory loss symptoms that take a toll on everyday life and make learning or participating in activities or social functions difficult. In that case, it’s best to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause. 

Myth #2: Extreme memory loss is a natural part of aging. 

As mentioned before, everyone has momentary lapses in memory. Fortunately, healthy aging choices can strengthen memory and cognitive function, like challenging our brains with puzzles and activities, eating healthy foods and being physically and socially active. While these measures might not fully prevent memory loss or dementia, they can lower the risk of developing cognitive issues. 

However, extreme forms of memory loss look a lot different than misplacing items. For example, forgetting where you placed your car keys is a form of natural age-related memory loss – putting car keys in the refrigerator is not. If uncommon or strange occurrences happen, speak with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause. 

Myth #3: Only older people can develop a form of dementia. 

Many people believe that dementia only happens later in life after a person reaches their 60s or 70s. However, early-onset dementia, also known as younger-onset dementia, can affect people as early as their 30s, 40s and 50s. 

In fact, about 5 million people in the United States alone live with dementia, with around 200,000 of those people being under the age of 65. 

Myth #4: Aluminum and Aspartame can cause memory loss and dementia. 

In the 1960s and 70s, researchers conducted studies on rabbits injected with high doses of aluminum. The results were alarming; the rabbits had developed toxic tau tangles in their brains, raising concerns about aluminum exposure’s effects on humans. This led people to stop using aluminum pots and pans and avoid drinking from aluminum cans due to the fear of developing Alzheimer’s. 

However, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, there has been no proven relationship between the amount of exposure to aluminum and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. 

There were also many concerns about the safety of aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in diet sodas, after its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996. But after conducting more than 100 laboratory and clinical studies, the FDA has since reported that aspartame is not linked to the development of any form of dementia.

At Astral at Auburn, we pride ourselves on providing memory care in Auburn, Indiana, that goes above and beyond expectations. In addition, our community strives to serve as a helpful resource for individuals and families as they navigate their journey. Discover memory care in Auburn, Indiana, today, and visit our website to learn more.


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