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We all become forgetful about certain memories or things. It's very normal and happens occasionally or frequently in our day-to-day lives. But, many people worry about being forgetful and they think that it is the first sign of Alzheimer's disease. Well, not all memory loss problems indicate Alzheimer's disease and here's why.
A lot of people have memory lapses and some memory problems are serious and some aren't. However, people who experience serious changes in their memory, behaviour and personality may suffer from a disease known as dementia. It affects a person's ability to carry out his or her day-to-day activities and Alzheimer's disease is one of the many types of dementia.
Though Alzheimer's disease and dementia are held responsible for many memory loss problems, there are other factors too, that can cause memory loss. Check them out.
1. Emotional Causes
Emotional causes like stress, depression, anxiety and grief can impact your brain. These can get in the way of storing or remembering details and schedules.
When depression hits you, your mind becomes blunt and you aren't able to recollect your memories or have difficulty in concentrating. Your emotions and mind are not able to pay much attention to what's happening in your surroundings. Depression also leads to poor sleep which can make it more difficult to remember information.
If you are undergoing a lot of stress lately, you will face distraction and brain drain due to the overload of the mind. Chronic long-term stress may increase the risk of dementia whereas acute short-term stress causes a momentary memory problem. Managing your stress is important for improving the health of your brain and body.
Grieving over a personal loss or other issues takes all of your physical and emotional energy and this can reduce the ability to focus on what's happening around you. Grief is similar to depression, but it develops due to a specific situation and is temporary.
Anxiety is another emotional cause that causes memory loss problems. Anxiety most commonly occurs when you are taking a test and unable to perform, even though you knew the information. Other people may have generalized anxiety disorder that can make it difficult for you to remember day-to-day activities.
2. Physical And Medical Conditions
Physical and medical conditions like fatigue and sleep deprivation, low vitamin B12, head injuries, kidney disorders, etc., also cause memory loss and forgetfulness.
a. Head injuries
Traumatic head injuries and concussions can lead to short-term memory loss and can increase the risk of developing dementia over the years. Head injuries can occur when you have met with an accident or while playing sports.
b. Sleep deprivation
It is very important to get a good night's sleep as it will help clear out your mind and make you energetic when you wake up in the morning. If you are tired due to poor sleep or have been short on sleep for a while it will have an effect on your memory and learning. So, it's necessary that you improve your sleeping habits.
c. Kidney disorders
If you have been suffering from chronic or acute kidney failure then you may also have difficulty in memorizing. The accumulation of waste materials like the breakdown of proteins, can affect your brain function largely. Additionally, studies have also shown that those people with albuminuria (the presence of albumin protein in the urine) are more likely to show impaired memory and cognition.
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue that causes motor dysfunction, paralysis and even coma. The condition is known to cause damages to the temporal lobes of the brain which are responsible for forming new memories and storing them. Therefore, memory loss is common in individuals affected by encephalitis.
Hepatitis can also affect the proper functioning of the brain. Hepatic encephalopathy is a brain disorder that develops from serious liver problems and leads to fatigue, memory loss and diminished mental abilities due to the build-up of toxins like ammonia that affects the brain function.
f. Vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 aids in maintaining healthy nerve cells and a deficiency of this vitamin is associated with an increased risk of dementia, according to some studies.
During pregnancy, the body's hormones undergo major changes which when combined with emotional and physical changes, contribute to forgetfulness. Commonly called as pregnancy brain, this condition is temporary and vanishes after you give birth.
Can menopause affect brain function? Yes, it can. When a woman goes through mood swings and poor sleep, it affects the memory and other cognitive functions.
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i. Transient ischemic attack
Transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as mini-stroke, occurs when the parts of the brain do not receive enough blood. In rare cases, transient ischemic attack can cause memory loss too.
3. Medical Procedures And Drugs
a. Bypass surgery
Research has shown that after a bypass surgery, there is an increased risk of confusion and memory impairment which leads to a decline in cognitive function. This slowly fades away as the patient recovers. Although the actual reason is not known, some studies say that this memory loss could be due to the formation of clots or the trauma during surgery.
Drinking alcohol or the usage of illicit drugs can impair your memory short-term and long-term as well. One can experience blackouts on the same day or years later, you may experience dementia.
A number of prescription and over-the-counter medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medicines, antihistamines, sleeping pills, and muscle relaxants can cause memory loss as well.
4. Cognitive Causes Of Memory Loss
a. Natural inability to memorize
There are many people who don't have a very great memory. For example, a person sometimes needs to spend long hours to effectively learn and remember study material while another person can master the study material within 20 minutes and can quickly recall it.
b. Distraction of the mind
If you are a multi-tasker, thinking about so many things at the same time can decrease the efficiency of the brain. Because your brain has a limit on what it can process and remember.
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