What A Bad Short Term Memory Could Really Mean

You just put your keys someplace, but now that you're getting ready to walk out the door, they aren't where you thought they were — and you have no memory of where you put them. If this happens to you from time to time, you're not alone. WebMD reports that 1 in 9 Americans over 45 suffer from memory loss.

Healthline describes short term memory loss as forgetting things you've done or seen recently. While having a bad short term memory is a natural part of aging, it could also be a sign of more problematic issues, such as dementia, a brain injury, or a mental health condition.

If your bad short term memory has been a cause for concern, it couldn't hurt to talk to your doctor about it. Healthline explains that your doctor will have methods to determine the severity of the problem by asking you questions about your diet, sleep habits, medications you're taking, and alcohol intake. A physician can also check for underlying conditions through a physical exam, blood tests and cognitive tests. If further testing is necessary, your doctor may suggest that you undergo an MRI or CT scan to investigate possible physical causes for the short term memory loss.

Ways to improve a bad short term memory

However, if you don't feel your short term memory issues warrant a visit to your doctor just yet, try incorporating some healthy adjustments into your lifestyle and see if there are any improvements.

One way you may be able to strengthen your short term memory is through exercise. "Exercising boosts blood flow to your brain. If you stay active, you'll have a better memory," Daniel G. Amen, M.D. tells The Healthy. Patrick Lyden, M.D., chair of the department of neurology at Cedars-Sinai, adds, "A half-mile or mile run daily is better than a 10-mile run one day a week."

Refraining from marijuana could also make a difference. "Marijuana lowers every area of the brain and ages it. On average, pot smokers have brains three years older than non-smokers," Dr. Amen says.

Not getting the right amount of sleep could also be a cause. "If you don't sleep seven hours a night or more, you'll be in trouble. Your brain cleans itself at night. When you don't get enough, it's like the trash crew didn't come to clean up," says Dr. Amen.

Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet and cutting back on highly processed foods and sugar is also something to consider. "The higher the inflammation levels in your body, the worse your memory will be," says Dr. Amen.

So if you're experiencing bad short term memory, don't get too stressed. Consider making a few healthy alterations to your lifestyle first and see if that makes a difference. However, if you feel you aren't seeing a meaningful improvement, it could then be a good idea to consult with your doctor about next steps.