Is forgetting words you intend to say a sign of Alzheimer's?

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Can forgetting words be a sign of Alzheimer's?

Expert Answer

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's. A Met Life Foundation Journalists in Aging fellow, she writes extensively about health and caregiving; four of her family members have had dementia.

Not necessarily, and by itself, not probably. Every adult has had the experience of a word being "on the tip of my tongue" or forgetting what she meant to say next. Occasional forgetfulness does not mean you have Alzheimer's; it means your brain is aging just like anybody's, a process that starts in your 20s!

More problematic is forgetfulness that's frequent, unusual for a person, concerns names that were once familiar, and that is happening more and more often, and noticeably getting worse. This may (or may not) be a sign of Alzheimer's. Review the most common signs and try this quiz to determine the difference between normal memory loss and dementia.