Are you approaching your golden years, and are getting more forgetful than before? Are you beginning to worry about your forgetfulness? Or perhaps you are wondering if it is true that your age has a part to play with your bad memory. In short, yes, age does affect your memory. Nonetheless, this is a normal age-related forgetfulness that is bound to happen. Read on to see how aging does affect your memory.
What Is Memory?
To begin with, let’s understand what exactly is memory, and how do you remember things. Essentially, memory is the ability to recall the information and events in your life. Be it remembering what day it is today, or what is your loved one’s favorite food, the process of memory consists of three steps. Encoding, consolidation, and retrieval.
In the encoding stage, you take information in. In the consolidation stage, your brain takes this information and processes it so that it gets stored in parts of the brain. For instance, your brain can store the information of “today is a Tuesday” in your long-term, short-term, or sensory memory. And lastly, you retrieve the information in the brain in the last stage of retrieval.
Different Forms of Age-Associated Memory Loss
So then, what are the different forms of age-associated memory loss? There are two main types of memory loss – mild memory loss and mild cognitive impairment.
Do not worry, mild memory loss is something that everyone will eventually go through. Typically, it does not have or causes significant health issues. On the other hand, mild cognitive impairment is considered a severe memory loss problem that can cause serious memory issues and functional issues. Or perhaps you might also know this (or a worsened condition of it) as dementia, the most severe form of age-associated memory impairment.
Reasons for Age-Related Memory Loss
Wonder why does your memory naturally worsens over time? Here are some reasons for age-related memory impairment.
Firstly, the hippocampus in your brain deteriorates with age, and the hippocampus is a part of the brain that helps you retrieve your memory. Hence, this is why you may find it difficult to recall things from time to time.
Secondly, the glands in your brain stop secreting certain types of hormones and proteins as you approach your golden years. And this means your brain will be less able to form and maintain your brain cells.
Lastly, blood flow to the brain decreases as you grow. This will result in cognitive impairment and alterations in cognitive stillness.
An Alternative Reason for Age-Related Memory Loss
Did you know that your memory will also be negatively affected by emotional issues? Indeed, memory loss related to emotional problems is a lesser-known reason. For instance, stress, anxiety, or depression can leave you feeling confused or forgetful. Thankfully, such forgetfulness and confusion typically go away when the feelings fade.