Memory issues and dementia
Doctor Umm-e-Saarib Attariyyah
Forgetfulness is a natural process; we all tend to forget certain things from time to time. Approximately after the age of fifty, everyone is affected by it to some extent.
Matters that can affect memory
1. Depression and anxiety: Depressed patients think that their memory is diminishing; however, some of these patients are actually suffering from depression.
2. Ageing: Elderly people find it difficult to remember basic matters and things, and they struggle to recognise people by their names.
3. Physical health: Prolonged pain, weak hearing or eyesight, alcohol consumption and sleeping tablets can affect the memory.
4. Lack of sleep, boredom and fatigue: Inadequate sleep, fatigue, boredom and other such issues can also affect memory.
5. Heart and lung diseases: Similarly, heart and lung diseases which reduce the oxygen in the brain [can affect memory].
6. Diabetes: The reduction or increase of sugar affects the functioning of the brain.
7. Chest or urinary infection.
8. Unhealthy diet.
9. Dysfunctional thyroid glands: The dysfunction of these glands in the throat impair the body and brain.
Dementia and its types
Dementia is such a disease that adversely affects the brain and nerves in old age. Due to this disease which develops in old age, a person’s brain and nerves become weak. Of those who are aged 80 plus, 20% suffer from memory issues. Alzheimer’s disease plays a significant role in this. Along with causing weak memory, this also affects judgement; makes daily activities difficult; changes behaviour; instigates anger and irritation; causes people to lose interest in the things that they previously liked; creates doubts; causes people to forget the way, even in their own house; renders people being incapable of recognising their own family; produces anxiety; and places one in denial of the memory not being as strong as before. In almost all patients, this illness gradually intensifies, and it can also progress rapidly as well.
Sometimes the reoccurrence of even a relatively minor stroke straight after it has initially happened can be the cause of multi-infarct dementia.
Causes of dementia
We do not know the actual cause for many types of dementia, but here are some reasons:
1. After experiencing an intense strike to the head, continuous strokes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, smoking cigarettes and obesity can also increase the chances of dementia. This is because these issues affect the blood supply to the brain.
2. Vitamin deficiency, which is commonly found in those who have an unhealthy diet and consume alcohol, can also increases the risk of dementia.
3. Those who suffer from cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease are at risk of developing this disease.
4. Some infections, such as AIDS or CJD, can also affect the brain.
Helpful treatment for dementia patients
1. Mental and physical health: Stay fit, exercise regularly, eat moderately, avoid smoking, and most importantly, ensure that you are using the right glasses or hearing aid.
2. Body check-up and test: Regular body check-ups not only diagnose illnesses quickly, rather by using medicines, the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and depression can be suggested quickly.
3. Concentration: To make a written note of the person you recently met, the message you received and remembering it. For this, using a diary will be helpful.
4. Organised lifestyle: Keep everything you use in its designated place.
5. Increased usage of the brain: General knowledge competitions, reading and other such activities that require the brain to think are helpful.
6. Keep reminding of actual occurrences: Mention necessary information before dementia patients and make them repeat it.
7. Vitamin E: Vitamin E is found in vegetables, cod liver oil, barley and some seeds. Taking 200 units of vitamin E daily can prove to be beneficial.
8. Ginko Biloba: This is a herb which is extracted from a tree. It cleanses harmful substances in the body and quickens blood flow to the brain. Nevertheless, experts say that patients who take blood thinning medications, such as aspirin or warfarin, should not use this.
9. Seeking help: If you sense that your memory is weakening, consult your doctor. After a medical assessment and blood test, a medical or psychological problem will be diagnosed, and if there is a medical problem, the doctor may also advise you to visit a physician, psychiatrist, neurologist or psychologist. And if there is no issue, they will offer reassurance.
* After every salah, place the right hand on the head and recite یَا قَوِیُّ 11 times.
* Recite یَا ذَاالْجَلَالِ وَالْاِکْرَامْ thrice when sleeping at night and blow on three almonds. Eat one almond straight away, one in the morning on an empty stomach and one in the afternoon. (Duration: 21 days) (Beemar ‘Abid, p. 41)