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Memory loss (amnesia)

Most people forget things from time to time, but see a GP if you keep having problems with your memory. It could be caused by something that can be treated.

Talk to your GP if memory problems are affecting your day-to-day life.

It's probably nothing serious. But it is best to get it checked out early. If you do need treatment, it's best to start it as early as possible.

Concern for a relative or friend

If you're worried about an older relative who is becoming forgetful, talk to your GP. It could be a sign of dementia.

What happens at your appointment

Your GP will ask you some questions to try to find the cause of your memory problems.

It might be useful to bring someone else with you who can help describe the problems you're having.

Your GP may refer you to a memory specialist for an in-depth assessment. You may need further tests, such as scans.

Any treatment you have will depend on the cause of your memory problems.

Causes of memory loss

Memory loss can just be a natural part of getting older.

Sometimes it may be caused by something common and treatable like:

Occasionally, memory loss can be a sign of something more serious, such as dementia.

Do not try to self-diagnose the cause of your memory loss – always see your GP.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 27 April 2021
Next review due: 27 April 2024