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Learn if memory problems might be Alzheimer's

We can expect to be a little forgetful as we get older. But serious memory problems may signal Alzheimer's disease—a brain disorder that has serious effects on memory, thinking and reasoning, and only gets worse over time.

reviewed 10/18/2018

Is it Alzheimer's?

Watch for red flags

Normal forgetfulness

  • Occasionally overlooking a bill.
  • Misplacing things, like a phone or a set of keys, from time to time.
  • Forgetting what day it is but remembering later.
  • Sometimes struggling to remember a word.

Possible Alzheimer's disease

  • Trouble with basic tasks like paying for a purchase or counting change.
  • Putting things away in an odd place, like keys in the freezer.
  • Losing track of the date or time of year.
  • Trouble having a conversation.

If you’re concerned about changes in memory, talk to a doctor. The problem may be caused by something other than Alzheimer's, and the right care could improve or reverse it.

Sources: Alzheimer's Association; National Institute on Aging

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