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I am 26 years old and have issues with memory loss. I would like to know if you can give me some advice about how to cope with memory gaps. Do my memory problems increase my risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease when I am older?

Although some early memory loss symptoms have been linked with an increased risk of developing dementia later in life, the odds at your age favor a less alarming explanation. Memory loss symptoms in a normal 26 year old suggest the effects of any one (or a combination) of potentially remediable influences. For example, if you were tested by a neuropsychologist, you may learn that your sense of cognitive difficulty represents a "subjective memory impairment," not supported by the objective results of testing. That's not uncommon among younger adults who are stressed, anxious, depressed, sleep deprived, or who are affected by medical illnesses, medications, too much use of alcohol or other recreational drugs, or other lifestyle factors that undermine optimal mental functioning. Your primary care clinician may be the person to start investigating this with you, or you may want to consult a more specialized clinician. Either way, there is plenty of hope for improvement in the present and probably little reason to be concerned about an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease when you are older.

Posted 16 Feb 2011

Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we take efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.

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