Our memory is categorized into long-term and short-term. Short-term memory is used for immediate goals such as daily tasks or remembering someone’s name or to send an e-mail. Depending on how important the information in your short-term memory is, it may become part of your long-term memory.
As we age, short-term memory can weaken and our ability to recall information becomes poorer. But aging isn’t the only risk factor that can weaken your short-term memory. In fact, there are several different reasons for your poor short-term memory, but the good news is that many of these causes can be modified to reduce your risk of memory loss.
Here are some common causes and risk factors for short-term memory loss and what you can do to prevent it.
Inactivity: It is known that regular exercise can help improve brain health because the brain needs ample blood to function properly. Studies have shown that those who remain active tend to have better memory. Therefore, maintaining a regular exercise routine can help preserve short-term memory.
Substance abuse: Many states and countries are legalizing marijuana, and although it’s promoted to not be a harmful drug, some research has shown that toxins in marijuana smoking can take a toll on memory. These studies have shown that pot smokers brains are, on average, three years older than non-smokers.
Mental health issues: Suffering from depression, anxiety, chronic stress, or any other type of mental health issue can hurt your brain, particularly with short-term memory loss. The good news is treating mental health issues can help preserve brain health.
Lack of sleep: Sleep impacts all bodily functions, including the brain’s ability to recall and remember information. When we sleep, our brain “cleans up” and recognizes information. Lack of sleep impedes the brain’s ability to do this, and your short-term memory suffers because of it.
Lyme disease: Being bitten by a deer tick can cause Lyme disease. Symptoms include chills, fever, headache, fatigue, and a bulls-eye rash. Some patients may experience short-term memory loss as well. Ensure that when you head out on hikes, you take the necessary steps to reduce your risk of a deer tick bite.
Dementia: One of the earliest signs of dementia is short-term memory loss. There is a higher risk of dementia among those over the age of 60. Although there is no fool-proof way to prevent dementia, you can reduce your risk by living a healthy lifestyle.
Medications: Certain medications — prescribed and over-the-counter — may cause short-term memory loss. If you suspect drugs are the culprit of your memory troubles, speak to your doctor about different options.
Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid causes your whole body to run slower, memory and brain included. Treating hypothyroidism can help relieve such symptoms.
Unhealthy diet: What you eat can trigger inflammation in the body and inflammation negatively impacts the body. Studies have linked high inflammation to poor memory. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can help control inflammation, leaving you with better memory.
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