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Outpatient Services > FAQ about Alzheimer's & Memory Loss

Frequently Asked Questions about Alzheimer’s and Memory Loss


Q. Is it normal to lose your memory when you get older?
Q. What is dementia?
Q. What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Q. Does having memory problems mean I have Alzheimer’s disease?
Q. Is there a test for Alzheimer’s disease?
Q. What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?
Q. Can depression really cause memory problems?


Q. Is it normal to lose your memory when you get older?

A. Some mild changes in memory are considered a normal part of aging. When memory loss interferes with day-to-day activities, consider a medical evaluation.
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Q. What is dementia?

A. Dementia is a term that refers to the disruption of a person’s intellectual or mental capabilities. Dementia may be caused by Alzheimer’s disease, repeated strokes or other neurological diseases. Symptoms may include memory loss and/or personality changes, inability to name common objects or impaired abstract thinking.
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Q. What is Alzheimer’s disease?

A. Alzheimer’s disease is a common memory disorder that affects approximately 4 million to 5 million Americans. It is the most common form of dementia. It is a progressive disease caused by the degeneration of certain nerve cells in the brain. More information about Alzheimer’s disease is available from the Alzheimer’s Association®.
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Q. Does having memory problems mean I have Alzheimer’s disease?

A. Memory problems do not always mean Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, causes of memory loss may include:

  • Stroke
  • Head trauma
  • Brain tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Chronic sleep disorders
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Thyroid disease
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Certain medications

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Q. Is there a test for Alzheimer’s disease?

A. No blood test or brain scan conclusively proves that a person has Alzheimer’s. However, scientists have come a long way in being able to identify patients who probably have Alzheimer’s disease, primarily based on certain memory and cognitive thinking tests. This allows for treatment to begin early in the course of the disease, which often results in a better outcome.
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Q. What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

A. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Difficulty adjusting to new surroundings
  • Confusion regarding whereabouts
  • Repetitive speech
  • Personality and emotional changes
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Aimless wandering
  • Erratic or repetitive behavior

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Q. Can depression really cause memory problems?

A. Yes, depression can cause memory problems. Depression also often occurs along with other causes of memory loss, such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes it is necessary to treat depression in addition to other causes of memory loss.
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