Everyone forgets things at times, like misplaced car keys or forgotten the name of a person just met. Memory loss is bound to happen as you age, but if you tend to forget a thing that took place just a few hours back, chances are that you could be having short-term memory loss.
Short-term memory loss is when a person forgets things just heard, saw or did recently, but remember incidents from 20 years ago. It is generally, a normal process of getting older, however, it can also be a sign of an intense problem like dementia, a brain injury or a mental issue. It is the way brain stores and processes small pieces of information it’s just observed in.
Also Read: Dementia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Some of the potential causes of short-term memory loss include:
Ageing- it is quite common in older adults
Bleeding in the brain
Deficiency of certain nutrients like vitamin B12
Poor sleep or insomnia
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Head injury from a fall or accident
Encephalitis, an infection in the brain
Mental problems like anxiety or depression
Health conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Hutchinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
Asking similar questions frequently
Forgetting where you kept things
Forgetting about recent activities
Forgetting something recently saw or read
The doctor will evaluate the person by asking questions about symptoms, how long a person experiencing these symptoms and reviews medical history and lifestyle habits. Furthermore, a complete physical assessment is also done. Certain blood works are done to determine the cause for other underlying health conditions. A CT or MRI scan of the brain is done to identify if there is any physical injury to the brain.
The doctor may also do cognitive tests to evaluate memory problems more intensely. These tests include:
Testing attention span by observing how well the person complete a task.
Asking simple questions like what is today’s date or where do you live?
Giving spelling or basic math task.
Assessing problem-solving skills.
Talking to a person about recent events.
Once the doctor Identifies the triggering cause of short-term memory loss, the person is referred to a specialist for further treatment.
Treatment mode for short-term memory loss depends on the underlying cause.
Surgery, chemotherapy or radiation for brain tumours
Drugs to treat blood clots or surgery to treat bleeding in the brain
Cognitive therapy for a head injury
Rehabilitation therapy or medication for mental health
Nutritional supplements to correct the deficiency
There’s no cure for short-term memory loss caused due to dementia from Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, however, drugs can help to slow the progression of the condition and ease symptoms.
In most cases, short-term memory loss will improve once the underlying cause is treated. For bleeding or blood clots in the brain, it’s important to get treated early to prevent permanent damage.
Switching medications or taking supplements can work immediately, however, treatments for mental health issues or substance use may take a longer time.
Following some of these lifestyle modifications can help a person with short-term memory loss improve the brainpower and memory which includes:
Getting a sound sleep
Eating a wholesome and well-balanced diet including lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes and lean meats
Involving in brain challenge activates like riddles, puzzle and mind game
Getting rid of unwanted clutter from the house to reduce distractions
Having a logbook of daily to-do tasks and schedules to help a person stay on track.
Taking supplements like vitamin B12, omega fatty acids and curcumin to boost brain health.