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Brain & Nervous System Health Center

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Confusion, Memory Loss, and Altered Alertness - Check Your Symptoms

Call 911 if:

  • A person is unconscious for more than a few seconds.
  • Confusion occurs with other signs of a stroke, such as sudden weakness, numbness, inability to move, changes in vision, or slurred speech.
  • Confusion and memory loss develop quickly, over a few hours or days. This is called delirium. It can be a sign of many serious problems, such as a medicine problem, an infection, an alcohol or drug problem, or a worsening of a long-term illness like heart disease or diabetes.

Call a doctor if:

  • A person faints for a second or two and is now awake.
  • A person with diabetes faints, even if he or she is now awake. This could be a low or high blood sugar emergency.
  • Fainting has occurred more than once.
  • You are worried that confusion or memory loss is caused by medicine or a health problem.
  • Confusion or memory loss occurs with changes in behavior or personality.
  • You have new trouble with familiar things, like how to read or how to tell time, or you get lost in places you know well.
  • Confusion or memory loss starts to upset your daily life.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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