What Causes Short-Term Memory Loss?

When you can remember incident from 20 years ago with all specific details but cannot seem to recall things that happened 20 minutes ago, you may be experiencing a condition called short-term memory loss. A number of factors contribute to this mental disorder. It may be the result of injuries or some outside influences. Some medical conditions may also cause this problem. You should talk to your doctor if you have any concerns regarding your memory.

Causes of Short Term Memory Loss

This mental disorder can certainly affect the quality of your life. However, you may be able to manage things better by getting more information about the main cause of short-term memory loss.

1. You Have Had a Silent Stroke

Strokes can damage brain blood vessels and affect your ability to move or think normally. Silent strokes may affect smaller blood vessels, and this can lead to mild memory problems. Such changes can be severe or mild and are often referred to as vascular cognitive impairment. Any blockage in the flow of blood to your brain will deprive it of oxygen and lead to serious complications. If you are experiencing memory loss, you are at an increased risk of having a stroke in the near future. In fact, forgetfulness is sometimes an early sign of stroke.

2. You Take Certain Medications

Sometimes, your memory problems are related to your medications. Certain drugs can affect memory, such as anti-anxiety medications, antihistamines, sleeping pills, certain painkillers, antidepressants, and diabetes medication. Some studies show that you may experience cognitive side effects when taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. Metformin, a commonly prescribed medication for type-2 diabetes, may also lead to memory problems.

3. You Are Stressed or Depressed

You may develop short term memory loss when you are under serious stress or depression. Significant stress can cause problems related to memory and attention. This is usually the case with people who have to sacrifice their sleep to manage home and work responsibilities. Leaving stress untreated can lead to depression, which can again affect your brain function.

4. You Have Nutritional Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is important for normal nerve function and its deficiency can lead to dementia and confusion. It is important to get at least 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 a day. You can get it from dietary sources, such as meat, dairy products, and fish. You can also find foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals.

5. You Are Getting Old

It is obvious to start forgetting things more often as you get old. That is usually the case because your brain stops producing new cells after a specific age. It means that old cells are not replaced with new ones and you notice a decline in brain function. You can maintain an active lifestyle and pay attention to your diet to prevent the death of brain cells or at least slow down this process.

6. You Smoke and Drink

The use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs can all lead to short term memory loss. Smoking limits the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain and this can damage brain cells. Similarly, the use of illicit drugs can change chemicals in the brain and make it difficult for you to remember things.

7. You Are Sleep Deprived

It is hard to avoid stress in today's life, but things can quickly go out of hand if you are under stress and do not get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause all sorts of problems. It can result in mental and physical fatigue and affect your focus and memory.

8. You Have Sustained a Head Injury

It is possible to develop memory problems after you sustain a head injury. A severe hit directly to your head can injure your brain and result in short- and long-term memory loss.

Treatments That Help Manage Memory Loss

What causes memory problems in your case will help determine the best treatment option. In some cases, the cause is reversible with specific treatment. For instance, if your short term memory loss is due to medications, changing those medications or adjusting the dose may help resolve the issue.

Similarly, you may have memory problems due to nutritional deficiencies. If that is the case, you can take nutritional supplements to tackle the issue. If your memory problems are due to depression, your doctor can use different therapies to make things better. You may also have to use meditation and relaxation exercises to manage stress in a better way. This in turn will improve your memory.

In some cases, the damage is not reversible but it is possible to use different therapies to improve the quality of your life. For instance, therapy can help older people learn to walk or tie shoes after a stroke. Moreover, it is possible to treat memory related problems if they are specifically linked to other conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, hypertension, etc. Here are a few tips to help you manage things better with short-term memory loss:

  • Always leave everyday items, such as your shoes, car keys, etc., in the same place. It is also important to follow a specific order every time you do something.
  • Develop a habit to write information down. You should always keep paper and pencil with you to take notes.
  • Keep a diary at work and home to remember what you should be doing today.
  • Repeat important info to someone else to help it remember.
 
 
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