I Can’t Remember Names – Do I Have Alzheimer’s?
With the medical community's increasing understanding of the brain, it is now believed to be normal for aging to be accompanied by: mild memory loss concerning recent events; mild difficulty recalling names; misplacing objects; and slowed thinking (taking longer to find the answers to questions).
Dementia is Not Normal Aging
When memory loss progresses over time, and interferes with normal life, it goes beyond what would be expected as a part of normal aging. At this point, it may be evidence of a progressive memory loss disorder, or a "dementia."
There are different types of dementias, with different causes.
For these "classic" dementias, there are no known cures.
Beware of the Dementia Look-Alikes
Because of the lack of known cures for dementias, people often think that there is nothing to be done about memory loss. That can be dangerous thinking.
Having memory loss that is beyond normal aging doesn't mean that a person is suffering from a dementia. There are many other conditions that can cause memory loss, including thyroid disease, Parkinson's, and even vitamin deficiencies. When memory loss develops rapidly (commonly called "Delirium"), it is usually caused by medication effect, or an infection or other medical condition. In many cases, if such a condition is caught early and treated, the memory loss can be reversed or at least halted.
Diagnosing the Cause
How can you tell the difference between a dementia and a different cause of memory loss? It's often very difficult. Don’t try to diagnose this yourself. When you see memory loss that interferes with normal life:
The question: "I Can't Remember Names - Do I Have Alzheimer’s?"
We recommend that you answer this way: "Not necessarily — and I’m going to see my family doctor right away to check it out."