Everyone stumbles upon confusion and forgetfulness at some point in their lives. It is often one of the first signs that age is finally catching up with you. But what would you do if forgetfulness was slowly creeping into your life, compromising your overall mental and physical wellbeing?
In a previous week’s edition of Health Capsule we shed light on the causes and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, present among adults over 60 years of age. This week Health Capsule helps you understand forgetfulness which may be a symptom of a more complicated underlying disease.
Consultant Ayurvedic Physician, Dr. Indunil Waidyaratne says some of the symptoms of the disease such as mild confusion and forgetfulness may even pose risks to a patient’s lives. “Sometimes a person may forget to switch an electrical appliance off, or leave the stove on with a boiling pot. Smokers may leave a lit cigarette lying around the house. If such behaviour goes unnoticed, it may threaten the lives of their family members as well.”
In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, brain damage caused by the disease will eventually reach the Parietal Lobe of the brain, as it progresses. The parietal lobe is located above the ear which receives and interprets sensations of pain, pressure, temperature, touch, size, shape, and awareness of body parts. In most people, the left side of the parietal lobe is thought to be dominant, as it processes information allowing us to read, write, and make calculations. The non-dominant side of the parietal lobe, usually the right side, helps us ‘picture’ the world around us by processing appearances. When Alzheimer’s affect these parts of the brain a person’s ability to speak, explain and remember will deteriorate. This deterioration will be apparent in a person who is trying to explain something to you but has difficulty in remembering the words or incidents related to it. As the disease advances a patient will be unable to identify friends, family and other familiar things.
However for some elderly people, there is no cause for alarm. Some of these symptoms may not be entirely because of a frightening disease as Alzheimer’s. There can be a number of illnesses that plague the brain and result in memory loss and other problems. In case you identify some of these symptoms, it is always best to visit your doctor who will be able to diagnose and treat your ailments effectively. It is also important to remember that while some diseases have cures, some ailments can only be managed.
Tumours, blood clots and infections in the brain can cause mild to severe memory loss. Certain diseases such as Syphilis can also display such symptoms of memory Loss. Even though Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria and is curable, if left untreated, it can cause serious damage to the brain, heart, nervous system, and even lead to death. Incurable diseases such as AIDS are also known to cause symptoms of mild confusion.
Of the less threatening conditions that are known to cause forgetfulness, an underactive thyroid gland takes a prominent place. Also known as Hypothyroidism, the condition slows the processing of nutrients to create energy for cells (metabolism). Hypothyroidism can result in forgetfulness and other thinking problems. A high consumption of alcohol and a deficiency of Vitamin B12 could also result in mild forgetfulness.
Cerebral circulation is the blood flow in your brain. It’s important for healthy brain function. Circulating blood supplies your brain with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly. Blood delivers oxygen and glucose to your brain. When there is poor blood circulation in the brain it can cause impaired cognitive function, affecting brain functions causing memory loss, difficulty concentrating and being less focused. Most individuals are susceptible to memory loss during their lifetime. Nevertheless patients with high blood pressure and those who suffer from mental ailments such as depression can easily develop symptoms of memory loss. Fortunately most of these less threatening illnesses can be cured.
According to Dr. Waidyaratne, the following ayurvedic draughts made with the following ingredients can alleviate symptoms of forgetfulness and assist in improved focus.
Draughts made with Iramusu, (Indian sarsaparilla) decoction of Sudu Handun (white sandal wood), Beli root (Golden Apple), Rasakinda (Heart leaved mooseed), Babila root, Sassanda and bee’s honey.
A concoction of Iramusu, decoction of Sudu Handun, Bee’s honey, sugar and ghee.
Extract of Alu puhul (White gourd) with bee’s honey
Wel penela, Wetake stem, Babila leaf ground with king coconut water to be applied on the skull.
Mukunuwenna leaf ground with king coconut water to be applied on the skull.
Green gram, Ath kaha (Turmeric), Sudu Handun, Aloe, Nelli, Girithilla, boiled in fresh milk, and to be reduced and applied on the head.