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am·ne·sia
[am-nee-zhuh]
–noun
loss of a large block of interrelated memories; complete or partial loss of memory caused by brain injury, shock, etc.

Alz·hei·mer's disease
[ahlts-hahy-merz, alts-, awlts-]
–noun Pathology .
a common form of dementia of unknown cause, usually beginning in late middle age, characterized by memory lapses, confusion, emotional instability, and progressive loss of mental ability.
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If this is a sudden loss of memory, you should see your neurologist as soon as possible. Even if it is a gradual decline of memory, you should still see the neurologist. He can determine if there is a physical cause for the amnesia, through physical exam, and he would order more tests, like an MRI to rule out any physical problems in the brain or in your arteries. Diagnosing of Alzheimers should be done by a neurologist as well. A possible undetected TIA (mini stroke) could be a cause as well. WHY you have amnesia needs to be answered. Alzheimers is something that can be diagnosed with a variety of questions and paper and pencil tasks. Getting a good history is vital. Take a close family member with you to the appointment who knows how you manage your daily activities and they would be a good source for the doctor to make an evaluation. Don't assume that you have Alzheimers. Please go to the doc and get an appt. quickly. If you can't get one asap, go to the emergency room if this is a recent occurance;
Good luck and god bless.
-Helen
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