Memory Lapses and Forgetfulness: Causes and Possible Treatment Options

Many things will change as we age, including our capacity to remember things. That’s the general takeaway from several studies, one of which comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It revealed that 1 in 10 American adults aged 45 and older suffers from declining memory. The same study further notes that less than half of all adults who suffer in this way discuss the issue with a healthcare provider, which is unfortunate. And that’s because memory problems can open the door to social isolation, strained relationships, depression, anxiety, and so much more.

What Everyone Should Know About Memory Lapses and Forgetfulness

Many things can contribute to memory lapses, forgetfulness, and memory loss as we age. Before delving into some of them, we should take a moment to familiarize ourselves with memory loss in general. After all, it can look different and impact everyone’s life differently. Memories are byproducts of the brain gathering information passively through visual and auditory cues. Memory lapses, forgetfulness, and memory loss occur when the areas of the brain responsible for carrying out these tasks stop working or don’t work as efficiently as they should. These memory problems can fall into 1 of 2 categories: acute memory loss or progressive memory loss.

Highlighting the Difference Between Acute Memory Loss and Progressive Memory Loss

Also known as amnesia, acute memory loss usually stems from an injury, illness, or another event that impedes normal memory processes. Meanwhile, progressive memory loss is age-related and comes on gradually. Progressive memory loss is also a telltale sign of mild cognitive decline (MCI), which can sometimes lead to the development of Alzheimer’s and, eventually, dementia.

Age-Related Memory Loss vs. Mild Cognitive Decline

Generally speaking, age-related memory loss does not cause significant disruption in one’s day-to-day life. They might occasionally forget someone’s name but will eventually recall it. They might even need to make lists to keep up with appointments or tasks. Also, someone with age-related memory loss may occasionally misplace items and later find them. These and similarly mild memory problems, which start to present in middle age, are caused by changes in the brain and a slowdown in cognitive processes.

In middle age, the hippocampus, the part of the brain that allows us to store and retrieve memories, starts to deteriorate. Cognitive processing, which refers to how quickly the brain processes information, also declines. MCI is another matter entirely. People with MCI have similar struggles when it comes to memory, but they also face difficulties related to language and judgment as well.

Additional Factors That Can Lead to a Heightened Risk of Developing Memory Problems

Along with aging, which is to blame for the deterioration of the brain’s hippocampus and slower cognitive processing, many other things can contribute to MCI and age-related memory problems. Some of the more notable of these include the following:

●Alcohol or drug abuse

●Blood clots

●Brain infections

●Consuming an unhealthy diet


●Medication side effects


●Mental health disorders

●Sleeping disorders


●Thyroid, kidney, or liver problems

●Traumatic brain injury (TBI)


●Vitamin deficiencies

Hormonal Imbalances and Memory Problems

Hormonal imbalances too often get overlooked as a cause of memory problems. For men and women, low estrogen or human growth hormone (HGH) levels in the blood can increase the risk of developing memory problems. According to a study published by Harvard Health Publishing, women experience a decline in estradiol, the primary form of the hormone estrogen that works in the brain, during menopause. That decline can adversely affect the brain circuitry responsible for regulating memory function, which, in turn, can lead to poor memory performance. On average, women start early menopause when they are between the ages of 40 and 45.

In men and women, an HGH deficiency (GHD) can lead to spatial memory impairment in middle age. For reference, spatial memory impairment is a clinical term that denotes difficulty remembering things associated with a particular location or space. But it does not end there. Because HGH plays a critical role in stimulating the production of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a substance that is essential for the growth and maintenance of brain cells, an HGH deficiency can also cause the following:

●Difficulty consolidating memories

●Impaired memory formation

●Reduced brain plasticity

How Healthy Lifestyle Habits Can Help With Memory Problems Caused by a Hormonal Imbalance

Studies show that consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet can boost low HGH and estrogen levels in the blood. For low estrogen, getting enough vitamins and minerals can get estrogen levels in the blood where they need to be. That includes vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin B, and boron. Estrogen-boosting supplements, such as Red Clover, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), Black Cohosh, and other estrogen-boosting supplements can also help. As far as low HGH levels, along with consuming a healthy diet and exercising regularly, supplements that contain the following can boost low HGH levels in the blood:


●Branched-chain amino acids




How Hormone Replacement Therapy Can Help With Memory Problems Caused by a Hormonal Imbalance

Administered orally, topically, or via injection, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) consisting of FDA-approved estrogen replacement medications can stimulate the adrenal glands, fat tissue, and, in women, ovaries to secrete more estrogen. Examples of these medications include Elestrin, Vivelle, Vagifem, and Premarin. HRT can do the same for low HGH levels. One of the most commonly prescribed FDA-approved HGH replacement medications is Genotropin, which stimulates the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, an area of the brain that produces hormones, to secrete more HGH.

Genotropin Instructions. Because Genotropin is an injectable medication, some people struggle to take it as prescribed. According to Pfizer, individuals prescribed Genotropin to combat low HGH will need the following:

●A Genotropin Mini Quick, a device that holds a two-chamber cartridge of Genotropin

●Two alcohol pads

●One injection needle

●One sharps disposal container

After gathering all of the necessary items, individuals should follow these instructions for the proper administration of Genotropin:

●Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.

●Open the plastic bag containing the Genotropin Mini Quick by tearing the bag along the perforated lines.


●Carefully wipe the rubber stopper on the Genotropin Mini Quick with an alcohol pad.

●Carefully peel back the seal from the injection needle and leave the inner and outer needle covers on the needle.

●Attach the needle to the Genotropin Mini Quick by pushing it down and turning it clockwise.

●Ensure the needle is placed directly over the rubber stopper and not at an angle.

●Screw the needle onto the rubber stopper of the Genotropin Mini Quick.

●While holding the Genotropin Mini Quick with the needle pointing up, turn the plunger rod clockwise to mix the growth hormone powder and the liquid.

●Choose an injection site, such as the thigh, buttocks, or abdomen, as recommended by your physician.

●Thoroughly clean the injection site with an alcohol swab and then allow it to dry.

●Remove the outer and the inner needle covers from the needle.

●Using your forefingers, firmly pinch a fold of skin at the desired injection site and then push the needle into the skin at a 90-degree angle.

●Push the plunger rod down as far as it will go to thoroughly inject all of the medication in the Genotropin Mini Quick into the skin.

●After injecting the medication, remove the needle and put the outer needle cover back on it.

●Put the used Genotropin Mini Quick and used needle in an FDA-approved sharps disposal container.

●Follow community, state, or local laws for safely and properly disposing of sharps disposal containers once the container is full.

In summary, memory problems can stem from many things, including hormonal imbalances. Fortunately, healthy lifestyle habits and HRT can help improve memory. The same applies to treatments aimed at combating memory problems resulting from underlying health problems, including those related to traumatic brain injuries.

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