Mild memory lapses in daily life are normal.
They may show that the brain is constantly prioritizing, sorting, storing, and retrieving all types of information.
However, some unhealthy lifestyle habits and health conditions may lead to abnormal memory loss that needs to be evaluated by a health care professional.
According to Ranjit Mani, M.D., a neurologist in FDA’s Division of Neurology Products, there are nine things that can cause memory loss:
Drugs that interfere with memory: The drugs include over-the-counter and prescription sleeping pills, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, some drugs that treat schizophrenia, and painkillers used after surgery.
Heavy alcohol drinking: It can cause deficiencies in vitamin B1 (thiamine), which can harm memory. Alcohol and illicit drugs can change chemicals in the brain and affect memory.
Stress due to emotional trauma: In rare cases, a condition called psychogenic amnesia can result memory loss.
Depression: It is common with aging and can cause a lack of attention and focus that can affect memory.
A blow to the head: It can cause a loss of consciousness and memory loss. Repeated head trauma, as in boxers and footballers can result in progressive loss of memory and other effects.
HIV, tuberculosis, syphilis, herpes, and other infections of the lining or substance of the brain: These conditions can lead to memory problems.
Thyroid problems: An underactive or overactive thyroid can interfere with remembering recent events.
Sleep loss: Lack of quality sleep can affect memory.
Vitamin B deficiency: Deficiencies of vitamins B1 and B12 can affect memory.
To check if their memory loss is serious, people need to consider some questions:
Does memory loss disrupt daily living? How often do memory lapses occur? What’s being forgotten? Are there signs of confusion? Is the memory loss getting worse?
If they find their memory loss decreases their quality of life, occurs frequently, gets worse and they feel confused, they need to talk to their doctors.
To prevent memory loss effectively, the researcher suggests that people need to lower their cholesterol and blood pressure, don’t smoke or abuse alcohol, do regular exercise, eat healthy foods, maintain social interactions, and keep the brain active.
If you care about memory loss, please read studies about diet that could protect against memory loss and dementia, and standing at a church pulpit, a blood vessel burst in her brain.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about new drug to reduce daydreaming, fatigue, and brain sluggishness, and results showing these habits can make your brain age fast.