Everyone forgets things sometimes. A normal, healthy brain has to sort through a lot of information on a day-to-day basis, and sometimes the information you need gets misplaced. So if you sometimes forget where you put your keys or you have to stop once in a while and remember what you were doing, it’s likely not the result of a disease process, rather a normal aspect of human mental functioning.
However, memory loss can be a cause for concern if:
- It gets in the way of your day-to-day life
- It happens more than once in a while
- You forget important things, like the name of a close friend or relative
- You forget whole conversations, or repeat yourself a lot
- You get lost in a place you should know, or you forget where things belong
- You often forget or misuse words
- You don’t remember your own memory lapses, but other people do
- Your memory continues to worsen over time
According to a recent analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 in 8 people over the age of 60 have experienced confusion or worsening memory loss within the last year. Memory loss may be an early warning sign of a serious condition such as Alzheimer’s disease, or it may be something easy to fix, such as a side effect of a medication. Either way, if you think you have memory problems, or if people close to you are seeing memory lapses you don’t notice, you should speak with your doctor.