Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, with memory problems being a common symptom of neurodegenerative disease. “If you have a decline in your memory or thinking that affects your ability to perform any of your daily routines, ask your doctor for a screening to evaluate you for Alzheimer’s and related conditions,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor of neurology. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
While memory loss is frequently associated with dementia, there can be other causes—which is why it’s important to see a doctor and rule out any serious issues. “Not all memory loss should have you worried about Alzheimer’s disease. There are many other causes of memory loss — and most, you can treat,” says neuropsychologist Aaron Bonner-Jackson, Ph.D.
“People dealing with depression or anxiety may find it harder to remember specific memories, events or facts,” says Dr. Bonner-Jackson. “Both dementia and depression may lead to less gray matter in the brain. Gray matter is responsible for memory and emotions.”
Studies show long-term diabetes can cause brain issues and cognitive decline. “There’s a strong correlation between Alzheimer’s disease and high blood sugar levels,” says the Alzheimer’s Association. “One study found that people with high blood sugar levels — such as those linked with Type 2 diabetes — had a dramatic increase in beta-amyloid protein, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.”
“People struggling with the effects of long COVID may have noticeable problems with attention, memory, and executive function,” says Tamara Fong, MD, Ph.D. “Studies report these issues both in people who were not hospitalized with COVID and in those who were, as well as in people who had severe cases. These findings raise some important questions about how COVID-19 infection affects cognition.”
Those with the blood type AB are over 80% more likely to develop dementia-related memory issues, studies show. “Our study looks at blood type and risk of cognitive impairment, but several studies have shown that factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia,” says Mary Cushman, MD, MSc, of the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington. “Blood type is also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, so the findings highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health.” HASnd to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more