Memory loss. For many of us, it seems to be a natural consequence of growing older. However, there are many other reasons why you may not remember as well as you did when you were younger. While there are several factors that can contribute to a faulty memory, such as substance abuse, stroke, sleep deprivation, depression, and stress, there are a variety of other reasons and lifestyle choices that can impair your cognitive functioning, as well.
Here are three common causes of memory loss that may surprise you.
Smoking. If you smoke – even if you consider yourself only a “social smoker”— you may experience smoking-related memory loss. It’s true. In fact, when compared to non-smokers, individuals who light up daily – or just occasionally – can lose up to one-third of their “everyday” memory. This includes tasks that require “familiar” recall, such as matching names to faces or remembering the words to a song. Because smoking decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain, it impairs cognitive functioning, even in younger people.
Medications. Certain medications are often instrumental in memory loss; however, if you’ve been taking your medicine over a long period of time, you may not attribute your memory lapses with your prescriptions.