Have you ever forgotten a friend’s birthday, misplaced your keys, or become lost on the way to a friend’s place because you forgot the directions? These kinds of memory slips are common and gradually increase with the aging process. Memory loss can be inconvenient and even irritating, especially when you’re trying to recall information that you’re confident you already know. These memory lapses are typical for most people and not necessarily a cause for alarm. However, if you suddenly forget your children’s names, where you live, or even who you are, these could be signs of more serious issues. Severe memory loss like this can be a symptom of dementia-related neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. But when memory loss is abrupt and comes on quickly, the causes can often be due to other factors, which are mostly treatable. If you notice your memory suddenly deteriorate, these are some causes to consider.
A lot of drugs can cause sudden memory loss issues. Medications to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, depression, pain, and seizures have been linked to memory loss. According to the United States Federal Drug Administration, cholesterol-lowering medicines can slightly increase the risk of cognitive side effects, such as memory loss, which is reversible. Also, a study on diabetes type-2 patients taking a drug called metformin found that these patients experienced worse cognitive performance than others who were not taking that drug. If your memory is suddenly affected after taking medications related to these conditions, consult with your doctor to see if you can be prescribed something else.
A lack of vitamin B12 in your diet can result in memory loss. Vitamin B12 helps aids memory retention since it can help store energy from food in the cells and protect the nerve cells. If these cells are malnourished, your thinking capabilities and memory retention levels are negatively affected. B12 is a nutrient that the body cannot produce, and about 2.4 micrograms are needed daily. Include meat, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk in your diet to get the required amounts of vitamin B12.
Have you ever fallen heavily, had a hard knock on your head, or been involved in a car accident? There is a chance that you could have suffered a head injury. Even if you were not rendered unconsciousness, these injuries may have a mild effect on your brain and may cause issues with memory and concentration. Brain tumors can cause mild to severe memory loss due to their position within the brain cavity. The pressure the tumor places on the areas surrounding it can impact the brain’s ability to function correctly. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, the damage caused by tumor treatment in chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can cause memory loss and affect brain function.
Blockages within the brain can cut off blood flow which may lead to a stroke. If oxygen-rich blood fails to reach the blocked parts of the brain, the cells will start to die and brain function is impaired. Among other symptoms, you may experience memory loss. When smaller blood vessels are affected, a silent stroke occurs and causes mild memory problems over time. Strokes can be destructive and may cause long-term or short-term memory loss. It is important to control your cholesterol levels, avoid smoking, and treat high blood sugar appropriately if you have diabetes. Healthy eating also helps to reduce the risk of strokes.
When a situation stresses you out and makes you feel sad or very anxious, it affects your focus. When you are primarily unfocused, you are unable to retain your memories easily. If you are stressed, anxious, or depressed, you can easily forget part of or even entire conversations. If you are in an unhealthy relationship, experiencing family issues, or stressed out from work, you are more likely to struggle with concentration-related activities like memory retention. Our state of mind and emotions are linked to our memories. Prolonged chronic stress may lead to depression. According to research in the Journal of Pharmacy and Bio Allied Sciences, depression negatively affects brain function. If you struggle with bouts of depression and anxiety, your memory can also suffer. Consult with a mental health professional or a doctor to pursue the best course of action.
Alcohol, mistakenly regarded as man’s best friend, can be the culprit behind your memory loss. Imbibing too much alcohol makes it difficult for us to form new memories and retain them. It doesn’t sound friendly now, does it? Don’t get me wrong; a quick pint once in a while is okay. Alcohol, when taken in large quantities, can result in blackouts. The use of narcotic and opiate substances such as cocaine and heroin also affect memory, especially when used to induce a state of ‘high.’ As a result of this high, the ability to retain information is dampened. Prolonged use and abuse of alcohol and potent drugs can lead to permanent memory loss.
When you experience insomnia due to work, anxiety, stress, or sleep apnea, your body and brain have not received the optimum rest they need. A tired brain will struggle to concentrate. If you lack sleep, you will struggle to retain information received in conversations, school lectures, or normal daily activities. It is important that you structure your day so that you can enjoy at least 8.5 hours of sleep per night.
Our app, Retiink, is a helpful resource for people suffering from memory lapses or loss. We want to help your brain be in the best shape and health. Retiink has a training program, including brain-enhancing exercises, that sharpen your memory and keep your brain in good health.