Health Conditions and Diseases

What Is Short-Term Memory Loss? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, And Prevention

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What Is Short-Term Memory Loss? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, And Prevention Hyderabd040-395603080 May 8, 2019

You are about to leave the house when you realize that your car keys are missing. And no matter how much you try, you are unable to recollect where you kept them the other night. Or, you forget why you walked into a room. Does any of this happen to you a lot?

Memory loss is an inevitable part of aging. If you tend to forget things that took place just a few hours back, chances are that you could be experiencing short-term memory loss. The first thought that may come to your mind is that it could be Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, not all cases of memory loss are a result of AD. To find out more about short-term memory loss, its causes, and treatment options, read on.

What Is Short-Term Memory Loss?

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Short-term memory loss is a condition in which the individual in question tends to forget things they saw, heard, or did recently.

When your brain processes and stores small pieces of information that it has just taken in, it is referred to as short-term memory.

While short-term memory loss is quite inevitable in the aging lot, it can also be triggered by a deeper issue like dementia, an injury to the brain, or a mental disorder.

Before getting into the details, let us understand the difference between short-term and long-term memory loss.

Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Memory Loss

The main differences between short and long-term memory loss are as follows.

Short-Term Memory Loss

  • The affected person ends up forgetting things that were done a short while back, i.e., what they had for breakfast or watched the previous night.
  • It is a part of normal aging.
  • It could be a result of other underlying medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Its main symptom is forgetting recent activities or things.

Long-Term Memory Loss

  • The affected individual has trouble recalling memories when they need it. Such memories could be weeks, months, or even years old.
  • Like short-term memory loss, long-term memory loss is also a part of aging.
  • It can also be caused by underlying conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Its main symptom is forgetting things that took place earlier in your life.

Let’s now look into the factors that are quite commonly held responsible for triggering short-term memory loss.

What Causes Short-Term Memory Loss And Forgetfulness?

The potential causes of short-term memory loss include:

  • Advancing age – It is more common in older adults.
  • Tumors in the brain
  • Bleeding or clotting of blood in the brain
  • Injury to the head from a fall or accident, such as a concussion
  • Infections around or in the brain, such as encephalitis
  • Mental issues like anxiety or depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Stress
  • Some medicines like statins, anxiolytics, and drugs for seizures
  • Medical conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease

Short-term memory loss is also often associated with the following symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms Of Short-Term Memory Loss?

The symptoms of short-term memory loss may include:

  • Asking similar questions repeatedly
  • Forgetting where you kept a belonging
  • Forgetting having participated in recent activities
  • Forgetting something that you have recently seen or read

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best to get an appointment with a doctor to get yourself diagnosed correctly.

How To Test Short-Term Memory Loss

Your doctor will start by asking questions about your symptoms. They may also want to know how long you have been experiencing these symptoms and about your medical history and lifestyle.

A general physical examination may follow this. A blood test may also be ordered to test for other underlying conditions.

To check if there is a physical cause to the memory loss, your doctor may also suggest an MRI or CT scan of your brain.

Depending on what has been triggering the short-term memory loss, your doctor may then refer you to a specialist for further testing and treatment.

It is better to diagnose the cause of short-term memory loss as soon as possible to prevent further complications from the condition.

Risks Of Short-Term Memory Loss

Most risks associated with short-term memory loss are a result of the underlying conditions responsible for triggering it rather than the memory loss alone. If the symptoms of short-term memory loss become too severe, it may interfere with your ability to:

  • Drive
  • Take care of yourself
  • Avail treatment

We can conclude that individuals experiencing short-term memory loss must not be left alone as it has the potential to become life-threatening.

There is a range of medical treatments available to combat short-term memory loss. However, these treatments vary depending on the cause of the condition. Medications to treat clots, surgery, cancer therapy, and cognitive therapy are the most popular approaches when it comes to getting rid of memory loss caused by serious underlying medical conditions like cancer or blood clots in the brain.

In some cases, nutrient deficiencies could also be responsible for triggering short-term memory loss. Restoring the deficient nutrient can help with memory loss. There are also a few natural remedies that are known to enhance your cognitive functions, which may also be beneficial in treating the symptoms of short-term memory loss. They are as follows.

Home Remedies To Help Treat Short-Term Memory Loss

1. Ginkgo Biloba

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You Will Need
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1-2 teaspoons of ginkgo biloba tea leaves
What You Have To Do
  1. Add one to two teaspoons of ginkgo biloba tea leaves to a cup of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn off the stove and allow the tea to cool a bit.
  4. Strain the tea and drink it up.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this 1-2 times daily.

Why This Works

According to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, ginkgo biloba extracts were found to improve cognitive function as well as symptoms of mild cognitive impairment and dementia (1). Hence, it may also be beneficial for short-term memory loss.

2. Omega-3

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You Will Need

Omega-3 supplements

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume an omega-3 supplement daily.
  2. Consult a doctor to know the correct dosage of the supplement for you.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this once daily.

Why This Works

Omega-3 supplements exhibit protective effects in cases of dementia and mild cognitive impairment (2). They can, therefore, also improve short-term memory loss in the affected individuals.

[ Read: Top 10 Foods Rich In Omega 3 Fatty Acids ]

3. Vitamin B12

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You Will Need

Vitamin B12 supplements

What You Have To Do

Consume a vitamin B12 supplement daily. Make sure you consult a doctor for the correct dosage.

How Often You Should Do This

You may take this supplement daily for a prescribed period.

Why This Works

Vitamin B12 deficiencies are often associated with symptoms of memory loss in older adults (3). Thus, restoring this deficiency may help enhance cognitive function in the affected individuals.

4. Curcumin

Curcumin - Short-Term Memory Loss Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 glass of hot milk
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of hot milk and stir well.
  2. Drink the mixture.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this once every night.

Why This Works

The main active component of turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin may help reduce or reverse the symptoms of memory impairment (4). Hence, this remedy is a great option for treating short-term memory loss.

While these remedies work their magic, here are a few tips that may help prevent short-term memory loss.

How To Prevent Short-Term Memory Loss

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Solve puzzles and do other activities that challenge your brain.
  • Reduce distractions by eliminating clutter in your home.
  • Create a to-do list and stick to schedules.

Most often than not, short-term memory loss is part and parcel of aging and quite common. It usually doesn’t create many issues in the affected individual as it doesn’t interfere with their ability to function independently.

However, if your short-term memory loss is a result of an underlying medical issue, it is highly recommended that you avail medical treatment for your condition immediately for effective results. Do not wait to consult a doctor if you feel that this condition is interrupting your daily life.

Was this post helpful? Tell us in the comments box below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How to help someone with short term memory loss?

You can make it easier for someone with short-term memory loss by:
• Being flexible and patient.
• Helping the affected individual remember details by breaking down new activities into simpler steps.
• Providing more verbal cues rather than asking questions.
• Establishing a routine.
• Writing important things down on a paper.
• Not leaving them alone.

Do memory problems always mean Alzheimer’s disease?

No, having a memory problem doesn’t always mean that the individual has Alzheimer’s disease. Aging, other underlying health problems, cognitive issues, or dementia could also be triggering the problems with memory.

Is short-term memory loss serious?

Most cases of short-term memory loss are a result of advancing age and are thus not so serious. However, if underlying conditions like dementia or an injury to the brain is the cause of the memory issue, it may lead to further complications if treatment is not availed on time.

Can stress and anxiety cause forgetfulness?

Yes, mental disorders like stress, depression, and anxiety can trigger forgetfulness, difficulty in concentrating, confusion, and other cognitive problems.

When to see a doctor for short-term memory loss?

See a doctor if the progressing short-term memory loss concerns you and if you want to avail treatment for it. This is especially if the symptoms end up interfering with your day-to-day life or if you exhibit additional symptoms that be an indication of some underlying medical condition.

References

  1. An Overview of Systematic Reviews of Ginkgo biloba Extracts for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Contribution of omega-3 fatty acids for memory and cognitive function” Nutricion Hospitalaria, US National Library of Medicine.
  3. Neuropsychology of vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly dementia patients and control subjects.” Description Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. Effect of curcumin on memory impairment: A systematic review.” Phytomedicine, US National Library of Medicine.

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Shaheen Naser

Shaheen holds a postgraduate degree in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology. She is a Geneticist with proficiency in Biotechnology, Immunology, Medical Genetics, Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Genetic Counseling. Her passion for writing and her educational background have assisted her substantially in writing quality content on topics related to health and wellness. In her free time, Shaheen loves to explore the world and the different flavors/cuisines it has to offer. Photography is another hobby she has developed of late.