To live a healthy and happy life, you need to be aware of the most common memory loss causes and try to eliminate them as soon as possible.
Almost everyone has experienced a degree of memory loss in their lifetime. It can be something as simple as forgetting where you put your house or car keys. It can also be as serious as completely forgetting past experiences or failure to recall facts.
Episodes of memory loss are often associated with the development of dementia, especially as a person ages.
While this illness is responsible for multiple cases of memory loss, dementia is not always the sole cause. There are other reversible factors that can also stimulate memory loss.
Take a look at some of the most common memory loss causes
Too much stress may be one of the reasons you forget things. Stress overloads the mind and if left untreated, it can result in a myriad of issues including depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, brain drain, distractions, etc.
Persons undergoing stress are always tense, finding it difficult to focus; hence, the ability to remember suffers. Moderate stress often triggers short-term memory problems.
Exposure to chronic stress may escalate the risk of developing dementia. It’s important to employ effective stress management strategies to enrich memory. This also helps to maintain and improve the health of the body, brain, and the quality of life.
Several over-the-counter and prescription medicines are among the leading memory loss causes. Possible meds that may impair memory include:
- Muscle relaxants
- Anti-anxiety medicines
- Sleeping pills
- Diabetes medication
- Cholesterol-lowering medicine
- Some painkillers especially the ones that doctors administer after surgery, etc.
When seeing different doctors for various conditions, it is important that each professional knows the complete list of medication you are on. It’s the only way to avoid taking medicines that will interact with the ones that you are already taking. You can also ask your physician whether he or she can adjust the medications you are taking to reduce confusion and forgetfulness.
3. Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Chronic alcoholism and use of illicit drugs can affect your memory. From blacking out when you overindulge to amplified risk of dementia later on, alcohol and drugs have both instant and long-lasting memory loss effects.
Alcohol causes memory loss because it alters the hippocampus activities in the brain. Heavy drinking and the use of hard drugs interfere with the ability to create fresh long-term memories. Studies show that men who drink heavily end up showing signs of mental decline years earlier than light drinkers. The two are also known to be the cause of other health issues like liver failure, anemia, heart diseases, and so forth.
4. Nutritional Deficiency
Your diet plays an important role in your ability to keep information and recall things. Lacking certain vitamins in the body are among the common memory loss causes that people experience. An example is B12 an essential B vitamin that assists with regular nerve function.
When you lack this vitamin, it is easy to experience memory issues. In some cases, vitamin B12 deficit has shown symptoms that are easily mistaken for dementia. The solution is to make sure you are getting enough B12 vitamin. You can get this from many sources like:
- Dairy products
- Foods fortified with vitamin B12
5. Traumatic Brain Injury
Memory issues are common in individuals who have TBI (traumatic brain injury). The injuries can damage sections of the brain that handle remembering and learning. Generally, TBI affects newer memories more than the older ones. Some people may have problems remembering the exact cause of the injury. This means that the brain does not store the specific injury as a series of memory.
A majority of traumatic brain injury victims may not be able to store memories for some time after the injury. Post-traumatic amnesia refers to the loss of consciousness from the TBI moment. It can last for a few minutes, weeks, or several months, depending on the severity of the brain injury.
Grief is amongst the emotional memory loss causes that affects many people. When you lose someone or even something you love or feel closely connected to, your body will use up lots of emotional and physical energy as a coping mechanism. This may end up reducing your ability to focus on current events or people around you.
Consequently, your memory may suffer. A person needs time to process grief. To some extent, grief is similar to depression, only that it stems from an acute loss or specific situation. Depression, on the other hand, may occur without any particular cause. Support groups and individual counseling can help you successfully deal with grief.
Whilst some people smoke for fun, cigarettes can harm memory. This is because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that travels to the brain. Studies reveal that smoking, particularly during midlife, causes poor memory.
Additionally, it makes it harder for you to learn and think. Smoking when you are over thirty years damages blood vessels in your brain and the rest of the body. Scientists recognize smoking as a top dementia risk factor. Researchers also conclude that people who smoke are at higher risk of heart diseases. It is best to quit smoking if you want to enjoy better functioning memory and overall health.
8. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
MCI is at the top of the list when it comes to common cognitive memory loss causes. This is when you experience a decline in mental abilities that develop slowly without necessarily changing your ability to go about your day to day activities.
There are different types of MCI. Amnestic mild cognitive impairment is the one most associated with memory loss. Individuals with amnestic MCI tend to have more memory problems than others in their age group. Some of the signs of MCI are:
- Forgetting to go to appointments or events
- Frequently losing things
- Having challenges coming up with words than other individuals of the same age
9. Sleep Deprivation
The perks of getting quality sleep are simply priceless. Among them include more energy, less weight gain, and most importantly the ability to think clearer.
Lack of adequate sleep can cause fatigue, which has been shown to affect both learning and memory. If you find that you have trouble sleeping most nights, it is advisable to look for natural ways to improve sleeping habits.
This is not just light sleeping; you need to ensure that you are enjoying rapid eye movement sleep also known as deep sleep which plays a crucial role in memory. It’s one of the best ways to help your brain retrieve and consolidate important information.
10. Silent Stroke
Perhaps one of the most surprising memory loss cause on this list is the silent stroke. Noticeable changes in the ability to move and think occur when a person suffers from strokes that block major blood vessels. There is a high chance that you will experience mild memory problems after going through silent strokes that block blood vessels. This can change modify brain function.
Worth emphasizing is that your brain is vulnerable to reduced or blocked blood flow. This is because it denies the brain enough essential nutrients and oxygen. Persons with memory loss are at higher risk of stroke.
11. Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
If a person experiences underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, they do not feel very well both mentally and physically. Some of the main symptoms of hypothyroidism are gaining or losing weight, fatigue, poor sleep and tiredness. For your information, underactive thyroid can also affect memory. That said, you need to understand that memory decrease does not always mean dementia or Alzheimer’s. When you assume it is hypothyroidism, a simple blood test will reveal the mystery. From then on, with the appropriate treatment, you can alleviate the condition and bring back the old self.
If and when brain fog and forgetfulness appear, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
12. Good fitness & exercise
It is common sense that exercise, activity and great fitness are essential for a healthy brain. Not just that, for healthy memory, too! If you exercise just for two and a half hours a week, you are better off than then the majority of the population. Can you imagine, just 150 minutes, and you can already experience outstanding results. However, that is not the case for approx. 75% of the people over 65. As a matter of fact, they are either overweight or obese, and this happens to be one of the causes of memory loss. To your luck, you need very little to start getting in shape, especially if you mix exercise with quality food – you are winning the game.