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Transient global amnesia is a rare type of amnesia that causes sudden memory loss. When this happens you cannot remember events from your recent past or make new memories. You may also not know where you are, why you are there, or what the date is. You may even ask the same question many times. Unlike other types of amnesia, you do know who you are and you can recognize people that you know. An episode usually does not last more than 6 hours and it rarely happens again.
What causes transient global amnesia is not fully known. But, in some cases, migraines, an intense workout, sex, or stress may cause an episode.
Your doctor probably did an examination and ran some tests to rule out certain health problems that can also cause sudden memory loss, such as a stroke, brain tumour, seizure, head injury, or an infection. If your doctor did not find any of these things to be the cause of your memory loss, you will not need treatment and you can go back to your usual activities. Although you may never be able to remember what happened right before or during the episode, the rest of your memory should come back.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It is also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: November 20, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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