This Is When To Worry About Your Memory Loss

Are you one to constantly be searching for your car keys, or are left staring at an open fridge because you forgot which item you were going to get? Perhaps you're bad at remembering birthdays or leave your packed lunch on the kitchen counter once a week. Being forgetful isn't as much of a worry as it is an annoyance. But if your forgetfulness is getting worse, or your loved ones have started to gently mention they've noticed a change, then it may be time for you to start reading up on memory loss.

"Because there has been so much attention paid lately to the aging baby boomer population, I think Alzheimer's disease is getting a lot of attention, which is leading a lot of people to believe they may have the condition," says Dr. Suzanne Salamon, associate chief of the gerontology division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to Harvard Health Publishing.

Alzheimer's disease may be one explanation for memory loss. But before you assume and self-diagnose yourself, know that memory loss could be just a part of the natural aging process, according to MayoClinic. You may have to start making more to-do lists or writing more post-it note reminders. But as long as you feel you can live a full and productive life, then there is no cause for worry.

If it's not a sign of aging, then there is another disease to consider that is commonly linked to memory loss.

You might have more control than you think

Healthline states that an early sign of dementia may be increased forgetfulness. But if it is an isolated symptom, then dementia might not be to blame. If your increased forgetfulness is paired with other symptoms such as difficulty finding the right words, apathy, and confusion, then you may want to make an appointment with your doctor.

Depending on what is causing your memory loss, know that it is not always permanent. MayoClinic lists a vitamin D deficiency, a mild head injury, hypothyroidism, and emotional disorders such as stress and anxiety as being possible reasons for temporary memory loss. It's also empowering to know that you might have more control over your memory loss than you think. "People should realize that they have more control than they think, that one-third [of memory loss] is genetics, that means we have the potential to influence a large component of our brain aging," notes Gary Small, M.D., author of "The Memory Bible: An innovative Strategy for Keeping Your Brain Young," to WebMD.

Yes, constantly misplacing your keys and forgetting birthdays is annoying. But unless you have done it more often than usual, or notice any other unsettling symptoms, then it's likely not the right time to start worrying about memory loss. Though just to make sure, you may want to check in with your loved ones and ask if they've noticed a change. Or make an appointment with your doctor if you feel like your memory is affecting the quality of your daily life.