Memory problems and cognitive performance decline are quite common these days. As a matter of fact, the number of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients is on the rise, and there doesn’t seem to be even a hint of a cure. Science is working hard to find a solution, yet research has been fruitless so far.
However, we’re an inch closer to solving the puzzle with each new study. A recent one, for example, has linked memory loss to certain prescription drugs, which might have been the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
How Common is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is associated with memory loss, which is the first and biggest symptom of the disease. In general, Alzheimer’s affects people aged 60+, but in recent times, it’s becoming a threat for younger people as well. Due to the severity of the disease, living with it is hard.
Around 44 million people in the world suffer from Alzheimer’s disease right now, with nearly 6 million of them being Americans. It’s the 6th most common cause of death in the USA and the only one in the top 10 that doesn’t have a viable cure yet.
Aren’t Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease the Same?
Dementia is an umbrella term for a variety of cognitive disorders, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common. It’s a progressive syndrome that hits your cognitive performance hard. People suffering from dementia have problems to remember and think which leads to behavioral problems as well.
Around 50 million people in the world suffer from dementia and the numbers are constantly climbing up. This is why it’s highly important to detect the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease on time. The sooner you recognize them, the likelier the chances of recovery.
Drugs Such as Benadryl Linked to Memory Loss
According to a 2015 study, anticholinergic drugs such as Benadryl have been linked to memory loss. The study examined nearly 3,500 men and women aged over 65 who didn’t suffer from dementia at the beginning of the study. The team running the study examined the subjects’ medical records and use of over-the-counter and prescription drugs while also closely examining their health. In two years, nearly 800 participants developed dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and they all had one thing in common – they took anticholinergic drugs.
Antidepressants, antihistamines, and antimuscarinics were among the most common ones used, with Benadryl being the likeliest culprit. This is the first study linking these drugs to memory loss and dementia, and it’s a link that should be examined further.
For those of you unaware, anticholinergics are drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease, urinary incontinence, COPD, and other diseases and conditions. They work by blocking the effects of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. As we age, the production of acetylcholine decreases. Add anticholinergic drugs to the mix, and it spells brain damage to older people.
Memory Loss Doesn’t Automatically Mean Alzheimer’s Disease
Here’s a fact you probably didn’t know – in many cases, dementia is reversible. Of course, it depends on a variety of factors such as how early the disease was detected and genetics among others.
Even if you are experiencing memory loss, it doesn’t automatically mean dementia. Vitamin B12 deficiency, delirium, depression, thyroid disease, and drinking too much have all been associated with memory loss, and they’re all treatable and preventable. What’s important, however, is that you need to address the problem as soon as you notice the symptoms. Memory loss is not a thing to be trifled with as it can ruin your life.