What Factors Affect Memory?

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Memory can be affected by many factors, including age, certain diseases and conditions, medications taken and emotional issues. Human memory is a complex multi-step process from capturing sensory information through short-term memory, then long-term memory, and it is thought to involve various parts of the brain.

General health and lifestyle are important factors that contribute to memory capacity. Alcohol and drug use and smoking tobacco have all been proven to contribute to memory loss. Sleep deprivation can also cause memory disturbances, according to WebMD.

Age is one of the significant factors that affect memory. Age-related memory change involves physical changes to the brain, but can be ameliorated by staying active physically, mentally and socially.

Some medical conditions have a direct effect on memory and can cause memory loss. They include thyroid issues, heart problems, dementia, HIV and stroke, which affects the brain directly. Head injuries can cause varying levels of memory loss.

Emotional issues like depression,chronic stress and anxiety can lessen the ability to remember things. Some medications also affect memory, including anti-depressants, hypertensive drugs, anti-anxiety medications and even antihistamines.

Menopause and other hormonal issues and changes can have a direct effect on memory. Poor diet, especially as it relates to fats and cholesterol, also affect the ability to remember.