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What is the cause of short term memory loss and disinterest in household chores?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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Hello- I am writing about my mother, a 67 year old woman. She had rheumatic fever as child, but that is her only medical complication i am aware of. Almost 2 years ago she hurt her shoulder and it took months to get better mainly from her inability to want to tell the doctors her level of pain etc. We started to notice an overall decline of health at the same time. Since then she has become increasingly fatigued, requiring long periods of sleep but never feeling rested. She will now fall asleep pretty much anywhere and looks very very tired. She is also suffering from what appears to be short term memory loss. She will ask the same questions multiple times during a conversation, proving she is not able to retain things. Her long term memory is fine and she remembers our names, etc. The issue is new information will be difficult for her to retain. She has also lost interest in doing her household chores, cooking, paying bills and shopping. She appears disinterested in everything except her grandkids. She also suffered from 2-3 bouts of severe vertigo in the past 18months. So severed she could not stand and it would last for days. The meds the doc gave her would eventually get her back on her feet 2-3 days later. She went to the doc but refused to tell him about the extreme fatigue, excessive sleeping and memory loss. What she did share prompted him to send her to a cardiologist (everything came out perfect) and said that she may be suffering from depression. Do you think she needs a psychiatrist or do you think there is something potentially wrong neurologically.
Posted Wed, 5 Mar 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 56 minutes later
Brief Answer: Depression could be the most likely cause Detailed Answer: Hello sir/ma'am and welcome. Thank you for writing to us. I can understand your concern, and also understand how difficult it must be to see this happening to your mother. But age playing cruel games with the human body and mind. In my opinion, if a cardiological problem has been ruled out, there are two possibilities we will have to consider and address once (if) diagnosed. They are: -Neurological problem: This could range from brain tumors to inadequate blood flowing to the brain, etc. A CT scan or MRI of the brain should help to resolve this issue to quite an extent along with a blood coagulation profile to check on blood flow to the brain as well -Psychiatric issue: Depression has already been diagnosed, and this condition comes with the symptoms your mother is experiencing. But the treatment is not as rapid and effective as we would want it to be. So please be patient, and address this issue to the fullest. If a neurological cause has been ruled out, then the depression needs to be given full attention, but if a neurological problem has been diagnosed (hoping against it), then depression can take a back seat till that is address. Although, in my opinion both age and depression seem like the most likely causes for her condition. Try to do things that used to make her happy, do not let her feel inadequate and most certainly do not let her realize that she has a memory problem. In fact, encourage her to involve herself more in the daily chores. And remember, family support is one of the main aspects for treating depression. I hope and pray for nothing but the best for your mother. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I would be more than happy to help you. Best wishes.
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