Numerous diseases, conditions and medical issues can cause a decline in memory and cognition. Problems with memory, learning, perception and reasoning can result from several medical conditions, such as:
- Brain tumors and traumatic brain injury
- Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia (caused by stroke or decreased blood flow to the brain)
- Excessive alcohol use
- Liver and kidney problems
- Lyme disease
- Mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
- Parkinson's disease
- Vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin B12
The two most common causes of memory and cognition challenges are dementia and Alzheimer's. We work closely with our patients and their families to educate them on these conditions and how they can be managed.
This condition is a general term for memory loss and a decline in problem-solving skills and mental ability. In addition to memory loss, symptoms of dementia include personality changes, language problems and mood swings. People with dementia often feel disoriented and might have trouble making decisions and performing daily tasks. Symptoms typically appear after age 65 and get worse over time.
Patients experience several types of dementia. Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia (caused by stroke or lack of blood flow to the brain) are the most common types. Other conditions and disorders cause dementia or have symptoms that mimic dementia. Many of these conditions can be treated. They include:
- Brain tumors, infections and injuries
- Fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus)
- Blood clots in the brain
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Some disorders of the thyroid, kidney or liver
Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia. It affects memory, problem solving, thought and behavior. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse as time goes on. As symptoms worsen, they increasingly interfere with daily activities. Most people with Alzheimer's will eventually need round-the-clock care.
Symptoms of Alzheimer's include:
- Memory loss, disorientation and poor judgment
- Mood swings and changes in behavior or personality
- Problems with thinking and language
- Difficulty performing everyday tasks