Surprising Causes of Memory Loss

Alzheimer's and dementia are not the only causes of memory loss and forgetfulness. Learn how specific medications, sleep habits, emotions, aging and many other surprising factors can indeed cause temporary loss of memory and what you can do to avoid and/or correct this situation.

Surprising Causes of Memory Loss

Common Things That Surprisingly Can Cause Memory Loss

Azheimer’s and Dementia are devastating causes of memory loss.  But, they are not the only things that can cause forgetfullness.  As we age, we’re more susceptible to memory lapses.  Regardless, it can be frightening!  Learn about some causes of memory loss that are not only common, but easily fixed.


(Click to See Answers)

Why does forgetfullness happen as we age?
Doctors at Harvard Medical School tell us that healthy people, as we age, can experience forgetfullness.  It’s actually normal changes in our brain that happens as we get older.  Here’s a couple examples out of Harvard Medical School of things that happen:

  • Our brains can lose facts if we don’t use the information often. We simply forget things as time goes by.
  • We can forget where we place things simply because we weren’t focused, at the time, on what we were doing and where we were placing objects.
  • The thing you can’t recall that’s on the tip of your tongue, maybe it’s someone’s name, is another example of a frustration we encounter.  Often it’s because we have other information stored in our brain that is similar and it all just gets blocked.  Usually we suddenly can remember that thing we were trying to recall some point later.
Can exercising our brain help?
The FDA’s experts tell us to challenge our brains!  Activities like reading, games, learning something new, writing and gardening can help stimulate our brains.  The FDA suggests that this kind of stimulation may lower your risk of dementia.
Are there medications that can actually cause memory loss?
Yes, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these over-the-counter and prescription medications can interfere with memory:

  • Sleeping pills
  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain medications used after surgery
  • Cholesterol lowering medications (statins)
  •  Tranquilizers
  • Some chemotherapy (cancer) drugs
  • Some incontinence drugs

Always see your doctor if you are experiencing any memory loss, to confirm specifically what is happening and how to work on getting it resolved.


The minimum number of hours of sleep older adults need every night. (NIH - National Institute on Aging)

% of adults by age 60 with concerns about their memory (Harvard Medical School)


Vitamin deficiencies can cause memory loss?

TRUE!  Not enough Vitamin B1 and B12 can lead to confusion, according to the FDA.


Sleep apnea can cause memory loss.

TRUE!  The FDA reports it’s also linked to Dementia.


Emotions have no linkage to memory loss.

FALSE!  Depression and emotional stress can cause memory loss, according to the FDA.


Tools & Resources at Your Fingertips

Take Action

Dealing with Memory Loss

The FDA talks about some of the most common causes of memory loss and how it can be treated.  Determine whether any of these problems could be affecting you or your loved one and talk it over with your doctor.

Is it forgetfulness or could it be Alzheimer's?

The Alzheimer’s Association gives us common signs and what’s different about age-related forgetfullness and Alzheimer’s.  Use their checklist and table of comparisons to determine if you or your loved one has one or more of the warning signs.  Talk these things over with your doctor to confirm.

Additional Valuable  Tools & Resources

The Importance of Sleep and Memory Loss

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) shares how sleep and memory loss are linked, and how various conditions affect older adults and their ability to get the sleep they need.  You will find specific steps to take and tips for preventing commom problems.

The Affects of Aging and Medications on Your Brain

The CDC, NIH and the ACL provide us with a rich resource of easily understandable information about the brain, how it ages and how medications can affect our memory.  Most importantly, take the list of questions provided and use them to go over together with your physician.

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