What is forgetfulness?

Forgetfulness is a persistent failure to remember. It results from changes in the brain and can be a normal part of aging or a symptom of another condition or disease. When you experience forgetfulness, you may find it harder to recall information or events, learn new things, or form new memories.

Brain Symptoms Spotlight

Common causes of forgetfulness include aging, side effects from medications, trauma, vitamin deficiencies, cancer in the brain, and infections in the brain, as well as a variety of other disorders and diseases.

In an aging adult, forgetfulness beyond the normal rate may be a symptom of a disease like Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. It is important to determine the underlying cause of your forgetfulness and begin treatment as soon as possible.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if someone has acute or sudden forgetfulness after a head injury or when accompanied by sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, severe headache, difficulty speaking, or facial droop.

If your forgetfulness seems to be progressing quickly, is persistent, or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.


What other symptoms might occur with forgetfulness?

Forgetfulness may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Generally, forgetfulness can be related to aging, head trauma, or other conditions or disorders.... Read more about forgetfulnesssymptoms


What causes forgetfulness?

Forgetfulness is a normal part of aging, though the exact reason for this is not known and is poorly understood. Forgetfulness along with aging can also be caused by a variety of diseases, such as vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Head trauma, vitamin deficiency, chronic disease, tumors of the brain, medication side effects, brain infections, stroke, and even anxiety or depression can all cause forgetfulness.... Read more about forgetfulnesscauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves