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Transient Global Amnesia

Transient global amnesia is a sudden, temporary episode of memory loss that cannot be attributed to a more common neurological condition, such as epilepsy or stroke. During an episode of transient global amnesia, your recall of recent events simply vanishes, so you can’t remember where you are or how you got there. In addition, you may not remember anything about what’s happening in the here and now. 

Overview and definition of Transient Global Amnesia

Transient Global Amnesia happens to people in middle and old age. In this condition, the individual doesn’t recall the recent past.  It is not a very serious condition because people start remembering things after a few hours. However, it can be daunting if the progress does not happen as fast as expected.

What are the symptoms of Transient Global Amnesia?

The diagnoistic critera for Transient global amnesia includes :

Sudden onset of memory loss, verified by a witness

Retention of personal identity despite memory loss

Normal ability to recognize and name familiar objects and follow simple directions

Absence of signs indicating damage to a particular area of the brain, such as limb paralysis, involuntary movement or impaired word recognition

Additional symptoms and history that may help diagnose transient global amnesia:

Duration of no more than 24 hours and generally shorter

Gradual return of memory

No recent head injury

No evidence of seizures

No history of active epilepsy

A distinctive feature of transient global amnesia includes repetitive questioning, “What am I doing here?” or “How did we get here?”

When to see a doctor?

If any person suddenly goes to a confusing zone from the normal condition of awareness, you must seek medical attention. Sometimes, the person experiencing the confusion might also be scared to call an ambulance or visit the doctor. In those circumstances, make sure they are not left alone and take them to the doctor immediately.

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What are the risk factors and complications of Transient Global Amnesia?

  1. Age is the most critical risk factor for this disease. Usually, people above the age group of 50 are likely to have this condition .
  2. Another important risk factor of this disease is acute migraine. If a person has a history of acute migraines, then your chance of developing Transient Global Amnesia in the future is significantly higher than others who don’t have  migraines.
  3. Once you have witnessed a sudden episode of short-term memory loss, you may encounter another such episode. It can be frightening and  cause severe emotional distress.

Only after performing neurological tests and brain exams can the doctor be sure about the diagnosis .

Is it Possible to prevent Transient Global Amnesia?

Now, it is not possible to prevent the first episode of Transient Global Amnesia in any way. However, once the person has witnessed it, there are chances that they can experience the second episode of memory loss too. Some triggers can cause this memory loss, and by avoiding those triggers, it is possible to prevent the second episode of Transient Global Amnesia.

Psychological and emotional stress can produce harmful chemicals in the brain that can cause sudden memory loss. Sexual intercourse and physical exertion are also few notable triggers that can be avoided for some time unless the person is medically fit. Apart from that Valsalva manoeuvre and sudden immersion in cold and hot water, sudden exposure to high altitude and mild head trauma can cause Transient Global Amnesia .

What are the treatment options available for Transient Global Amnesia?

Usually, the symptoms of Transient Global Amnesia resolve within 24 hours . Therefore, there is no specific treatment option for this disease. Most people do not have more than two occurrences of such episodes of memory loss.

That is why it is of absolute importance to document the trigger factors causing this event. Hence, the best treatment option for curing this disease is to avoid the trigger factors.

No other specific treatment is needed for transient global amnesia. It resolves on its own and has no known lasting effects.

Conclusion

Transient Global Amnesia does not last for more than a day. Hence this disease is not life-threatening. It is rare for people to witness such memory loss episodes more than twice. It is also vital that you learn to avoid the triggering factors because the severity of repeated memory loss episodes can be adverse for one’s psychological health.It is also better to check with your doctor and rule out other causes of memory loss.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1: Can Transient Global Amnesia lead to Dementia?

Ans: There is no evidence that indicates that Transient Global Amnesia leads to Dementia. Also, there is no evidence to link Transient Global Amnesia and cerebrovascular events, seizures, or cognitive impairment.

2: Can Transient Global Amnesia be hereditary?

Ans: No, this disease is not hereditary. However, people who have this disease may be associated with some genetic disorders.

3: Is memory problem the only symptom of Transient Global Amnesia?

Ans:  Recent memory loss can be the definite symptom of this disease. However, headache, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, confusion, dizziness, tingling in the arms and feet are also symptoms in some cases.

4: How do doctors diagnose Transient Global Amnesia?

Ans: A thorough physical examination, blood tests, brain computed tomography scans, and brain magnetic resonance imaging scans can all be done to rule out other causes of amnesia.

5: What is the prognosis of Transient Global Amnesia patients?

Ans: This is not a progressive disease and may cause a few episodes of memory loss.

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