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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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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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