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When Memory Loss Has Nothing To Do With Alzheimer’s

min read

By Emily Lockhart

We all lose track of our keys every now and then, but bouts of forgetfulness every now and again happen to us all. However, if your brain farts are becoming more and more frequent every day, your chronic forgetfulness may indicate an underlying health condition.

No, it’s not necessarily dementia or alzheimer’s disease, but perhaps one of these six health conditions that are causing memory loss…

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress can literally have a negative domino effect on health over time. Even over the short term, chronic stress can impact the brain and begin to deteriorate memory due to loss of sleep, poor diet, and lack of physical activity.

According to a 2006 study published by the National Institutes of Health, chronic stress over the long term exposes the brain and body to certain hormones (i.e., cortisol) and specific areas of the brain (i.e, hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex) can suffer lasting changes.

Alcohol Abuse

Not to dredge up bad memories, but many of us have embarrassed ourselves when drinking. Many more were none the wiser until they woke up the following morning or were reminded by a loved one or friend. No one likes to make a fool of themselves at the company holiday party, however, drinking too much is often the culprit.

A 2014 study conducted by University College London monitored the drinking habits of 5,054 men and 2,099 women over a 10-year period, testing for memory during this period. Findings showed that middle aged men who consumed 2.5 drinks daily increased their memory loss by 6 years—compared to men who drank less or not at all. Interestingly, women didn’t suffer the same effects.

You Suffer from Depression

According to research from Healthline, depression may be the underlying reason for bouts of confusion, memory loss, and blips of forgetfulness. For instance, studies link an individuals negative emotional state (i.e., depression, anxiety, and stress) with short-term loss of focus, decision making skills, and impeded memory.

Take it from the finding of this Columbia University study, which found that during a bout of depression, many individuals have difficulty making routine decisions (i.e., get out of bed, get dressed, eat, shower, etc.). Suddenly, simple cognitive processes we normally don’t think twice about can become impossible decisions.

Health Conditions that Mess with Memory

Medical research tells us that deficiencies of many sorts can have a negative impact on memory. For instance, 2014 research out of Harvard Medical School notes that lagging B12 vitamin levels can impede sense of taste and smell, as well as memory function.

Limited blood supply to the brain—due to chronic health conditions like a thyroid disorder, high cholesterol or blood pressure, liver or kidney malfunction, or diabetes—can also mess with memory.

Physical Exhaustion

It’s no shocker that sleep and memory go hand in hand. So if you suffer from a sleep disorder (i.e., sleep apnea) your brain may suffer reduced blood supply, which over time can eat up decision-making abilities and memory.

Research out of Harvard Medical School identifies what researchers call the “four horsemen of forgetfulness”—depression, stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation. However, researchers note that the “horseman” can be counteracted with some deep, quality shuteye. (For more information, check out this article on Reasons Why You Have No Energy).

Emily Lockhart


Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.



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Memory Care Facilities Near Me: A Guide to Finding the Best Options

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