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The #1 Reason You Can't Remember Something According to Science

Struggling with memory loss? This might be why.

Dementia is the health condition most commonly associated with memory loss—but forgetfulness can happen for many reasons. "Not all memory loss should have you worried about Alzheimer's disease. There are many other causes of memory loss — and most, you can treat," says neuropsychologist Aaron Bonner-Jackson, PhD. Here are five reasons you might have memory loss, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Depression and Anxiety

Sad senior woman looking away at home

People living with mental health issues may experience memory loss, doctors say. "People dealing with depression or anxiety may find it harder to remember specific memories, events or facts," says Dr. Bonner-Jackson. "Both dementia and depression may lead to less gray matter in the brain. Gray matter is responsible for memory and emotions."


Head Trauma

man having headache after drinking too much water

Amnesia is a common complaint after experiencing a head injury, doctors say. "If you sustained a head injury years ago and are having persistent issues with your cognitive function, such as feeling foggy or slowed down, difficulty concentrating, memory loss or confusion, you should definitely talk to your doctor," says neurologist Dr. Raina Gupta. "Also be sure to discuss any changes in mood or sleep, and difficulties with language, attention and processing information. Long-term effects of head injury may lead to partial or total disability that may prevent a person's functional and psychosocial recovery."



Doctor and covid-19 infected patient in bed in hospital.

One of the more concerning symptoms of long COVID is ongoing brain fog. "People struggling with the effects of long COVID may have noticeable problems with attention, memory, and executive function," says Tamara Fong, MD, PhD. "Studies report these issues both in people who were not hospitalized with COVID and in those who were, as well as in people who had severe cases. These findings raise some important questions about how COVID-19 infection affects cognition.



Long-term blood sugar issues could lead to memory problems, experts warn. "Blood sugar is your body's main source of fuel. If levels aren't just right, they can affect your ability to function," explains Dr. Bonner-Jackson. "Over time, too much blood sugar can damage the brain. Too little can lead to hypoglycemia, which in severe cases causes confusion."


Lack of Sleep

Senior Woman Suffering from Insomnia.

Not getting enough sleep is a leading cause of memory loss, experts warn. "Not getting enough sleep is perhaps the greatest unappreciated cause of forgetfulness," says Harvard Health. "Too little restful sleep can also lead to mood changes and anxiety, which in turn contribute to problems with memory." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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