Surprising causes of memory loss

woman with back turned from camera holding her head

Everyone has forgotten where they left their phone or their keys before, but some people find simple acts like these becoming a daily occurrence. As the body ages, the brain becomes a little more forgetful. However, repetitive episodes often raise the fear of developing Alzheimer’s in anyone over 40. 

Did you know that Alzheimer’s isn’t the only health issue that causes forgetfulness? There are a lot of factors at play and many of them are more treatable than you might think. Here are some more surprising causes of memory loss. 

Sleep Apnea

This sleep disorder causes a person’s breathing to briefly stop during the night in frequent intervals. It also happens to be linked to memory loss and dementia. If you don’t have a partner that can identify you’re loud snoring, then sleep apnea can be hard to identify. Waking up with a headache and daytime fatigue are the most common signs. 

Researchers believe that a lack of oxygen to the brain is to blame for the correlation to memory loss. Specifically, it targets special navigation memory. That means you may have difficulty remembering direction and where you last placed objects. This can lead to car and motorcycle accidents when left unchecked. 

Silent Stroke

Strokes block major blood vessels in the brain, but the silent variety affect smaller blood vessels. Instead of significant changes at once, silent strokes cause small changes over time that slowly alter brain function. This is known as vascular cognitive impairment, which directly correlates to memory. 

Blocked blood vessels mean less oxygen is getting to the brain. Less oxygen means less nutrients, which ultimately means you’ll end up becoming more forgetful. That forgetfulness is an early sign that silent strokes are building up to a major one, so don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. 


Countless drugs affect memory, but medications doing so often need adjusted by your doctor. If you’re taking any of the following, your pills may be the culprit:

  • sleeping pills
  • antihistamines
  • anti-anxiety medication
  • antidepressants
  • painkillers
  • cholesterol-lowering medication
  • diabetes medication

Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

One of the most common causes for simple forgetfulness is stress. Coupled with anxiety and depression, people find themselves forgetting everything from their keys to important dates. These three are often paired with difficulty sleeping, which can decrease brain function. Luckily, these are rarely permanent and can be managed with therapy

Nutrition Deficiency

If your diet is lacking B12, then your nervous system isn’t functioning as it should. Therefore, your brain and body aren’t as in-tune as they should be. This can easily cause memory loss, as well as a wide variety of other issues when not treated. 

Seeking Treatment

Speaking with your doctor about memory loss is vital if you want to uncover the cause. Left untreated, many of these conditions can lead to more than just forgetfulness. Some come with increased memory loss and dementia, while others have severe health complications. 

Your doctor can help you create a compassionate memory care plan that could involve everything from daily exercises to assisted living if any dementia has progressed. The sooner you uncover the cause, the easier it is to remedy your memory loss and get your life back on track.