Feeling forgetful in your 20s could be a symptom of these 5 underlying medical conditions

When forgetting things at a young age of 20 or 30 becomes a pattern, you might need to reconsider your overall health.

Myupchar January 07, 2020 13:38:06 IST
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Feeling forgetful in your 20s could be a symptom of these 5 underlying medical conditions

We've all been in a situation where we forget the name of the person we are meeting, the hilarious movie we’ve seen a million times or even just where we kept those pesky car keys again. We also often notice our grandparents and parents forgetting things we told them every now and then. To forget things is a natural part of being human. After all, we aren’t machines.  

Feeling forgetful in your 20s could be a symptom of these 5 underlying medical conditions

Representational image.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

But when forgetting things at a young age of 20 or 30 becomes a pattern, then you might need to reconsider your overall health. Here are five medical reasons that could be responsible for forgetfulness at a young age:

1. Lack of sleep

Lack of adequate and restful sleep could easily lead to mood swings and anxiety, which in turn contribute to poor memory.

Sleep-deprived people are more likely to develop high blood pressure and diabetes, thus they may have constricted (narrowed) blood vessels. These narrowed blood vessels decrease proper blood flow to the brain. This limitation of blood flow could affect the ability of the brain to work properly.

A study conducted on mice claimed that sleep deprivation leads to more deposition of beta-amyloid (a protein) in the brain. The increased beta-amyloid deposits in the brain lead to a decrease in memory and thinking power.

2. Medications

Some medications that can affect the memory of a person even at a young age are anti-depressants (prescribed for migraine, depression), tranquillizers (prescribed for anxiety, depression and sleep disorders), anti-hypertensive drugs (prescribed for high blood pressure) and anticholinergics (prescribed in the case of pulmonary diseases, muscle spasms, gastrointestinal problems). 

They either cause sedation which may confuse the person or block the brain chemical messenger (acetylcholine) like in case of anticholinergics. Thus, the person could keep on forgetting things. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions that cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) could increase the risk of reversible memory loss and confusion.

3. Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland present in the front of the neck. It helps to regulate many body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. Hypothyroidism is the condition when thyroid gland stops releasing the required amount of thyroid hormone in the body. 

People with undiagnosed or untreated hypothyroidism may face memory problems and difficulty concentrating. 

Researches have also shown that people with untreated hypothyroidism present with a decrease in the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.

Along with forgetfulness, other symptoms of hypothyroidism could be sudden weight gain, over-sensitivity to cold, dry skin even during summers and persistent hair loss.

4. Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 is one of the important elements that the body requires for the production of DNA, red blood cells and the proper functioning of the brain.

Vitamin B12 is also important for nerves as it helps in maintaining intact myelin sheaths (the protective covering around nerves). Deficiency of Vitamin B12 in a young person can possibly lead to reversible memory loss and dementia-like symptoms in them. 

Since vitamin B12 is not produced in the body, one needs to take it in forms of food and supplements.

5. Depression

Depression may lead to forgetfulness and state of confusion in the patient. Pseudodementia is a clinical state where the person is suffering from depression but mimics the symptoms of dementia. 

A person suffering from pseudodementia may present with symptoms like a delayed response to any stimuli, forgetting things and people, slurred speech, persistent sadness, feeling of fatigue, disturbed sleep, decreased appetite, low self-esteem, and suicidal ideation. 

For more on this topic, please read our article on Memory Loss.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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