Can Memory Loss Be Reversed?   

Can Memory Loss Be Reversed?

Senior man looking through the window at home
Clinical Contributors to this story:
Manisha Santosh Parulekar, M.D.

No matter how strong your powers of recall, no one can remember absolutely everything. We all forget things, and that’s life. 

But memory issues, such as those that may come with age, can make us feel like our own lives are slipping away. Manisha Parulekar, M.D., director of the Geriatrics Division at Hackensack University Medical Center and co-director of the Center for Memory Loss and Brain Health, offers guidance for reversing memory loss.

What Types of Memory Loss Can Be Reversed?

Memory loss that results from certain causes or conditions can be improved, including: 

  • Depression
  • Infection
  • Medication side effects
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Uncontrolled diabetes or thyroid disorders

Depression can mimic dementia, and appropriate treatment can reverse depression-related memory deficits. “Correcting these issues may help improve memory loss,” Dr. Parulekar says.

On the other hand, memory loss resulting from brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia cannot be reversed.

Improving Memory Loss Associated With Age

We may have some difficulty remembering or need more time to learn new things as we get older, but that should not affect the ability to work and live independently.Still, there are steps you can take to improve your memory as you age. 

Dr. Parulekar recommends:

  • Eating healthy, with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Physical exercise (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of physical activity a week)
  • Mental exercises such as crossword puzzles, reading and trying a new hobby
  • Getting enough sleep (adults need 7–9 hours)
  • Managing stress (try meditation or hiking outdoors)
  • Controlling chronic conditions such high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol

When to See a Doctor About Memory Loss 

If you are concerned about memory loss, talk to your doctor. They can help assess if your memory loss is a natural part of aging, a result of a correctable condition or a result of something more serious.

“Diagnosing memory loss involves multiple steps, a thorough medical history, medication review, mood assessment, physical examination, appropriate blood work, imaging study and further workup as needed,” Dr. Parulekar explains. 

Next Steps & Resources:

Meet our source: Manisha Parulekar, M.D.

To make an appointment with a geriatric specialist near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website.

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


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