Thursday, September 29, 2022

What Doctor To See For Memory Loss

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A Word About Clinical Trials

Memory Loss and Dementia Explained with Dr. Anne Constantino

Although not right for everyone, clinical trials may be an option. Begin your research at a credible place, such as the Alzheimers Disease Clinical Trials Database. This is a joint project of the National Institute on Aging and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Its maintained by the NIAs Alzheimers Disease Education and Referral Center.

Brain Exercises To Combat Memory Loss

Just as physical exercise can make and keep your body stronger, mental exercise can make your brain work better and lower your risk of mental decline. Try to find brain exercises that you find enjoyable. The more pleasurable an activity is to you, the more powerful its effect will be on your brain. You can make some activities more enjoyable by appealing to your sensesby playing music during the exercise, for example, or lighting a scented candle, or rewarding yourself after youve finished.

What To Expect When You See A Gp About Dementia

A GP will ask about your symptoms and other aspects of your health.

They’ll also ask if you’re finding it difficult to manage everyday activities such as:

  • washing and dressing
  • cooking and shopping
  • paying bills

If possible, someone who knows you well should be with you at your GP appointment, so they can describe any changes or problems they’ve noticed. They could also help you remember what was said at the appointment, if this is difficult for you.

Memory problems do not necessarily mean you have dementia. These problems can have other causes, such as:

To;help rule out other causes of memory problems, the GP will do a physical examination and may organise tests, such as a blood test and urine test.

You’ll also be asked to do a memory or cognitive test to check any problems with your memory or ability to think clearly.

Read more about the tests used to diagnose dementia.

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Memory Loss Concerns: When To See A Doctor And How To Talk About It

It is normal for our brain to change as we age. These changes often result in memory loss. However, memory loss can also be a sign of a medical condition, like dementia.

To help identify signs of normal aging and signs that you should see a doctor, use the table below provided by the Texas Department of Health Services.

When Should You Call Your Doctor

Visiting the Doctor About Memory Loss: Learn How to Prepare

911 or other emergency services immediately if signs of a stroke or transient ischemic attack develop suddenly. These may include:

  • Numbness, weakness, or inability to move the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes, such as dimness, blurring, double vision, loss of vision, or a sensation that a shade is being pulled down over your eyes.
  • Confusion, or trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

if a person suddenly becomes confused or emotionally upset or doesn’t seem to know who or where he or she is. These are signs of delirium, which can be caused by a reaction to medicines or a new or worsening medical condition.

Call a doctor if you or a person you are close to has new and troubling memory loss that is more than an occasional bout of forgetfulness. This may be an early sign of dementia.

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Who Else May A Person With Dementia See

A person with suspected dementia may come into contact with a range of health and social care professionals. Consultants usually operate within specialist teams, including nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers. Nurses who work with people with dementia, and those caring for them, include: community mental health nurses , who work in the community, providing treatment, care and support for people with mental health problems and dementia; district or community nurses, who provide care and advice for people living at home; and practice nurses, who work with doctors in GP practices.

Clinical psychologists, who often work with consultants in memory clinics, assess memory and learning abilities. Occupational therapists can advise people on ways of maintaining their independence including carrying out adaptations and using special equipment. Social workers may be involved in assessing someones need for care services and home care workers may be brought in to help with personal and other care. Physiotherapists may be asked to advise on exercise for people, particularly in the early stages of dementia. Dieticians may be asked to provide guidance on nutrition, poor appetite, weight loss or weight gain.

A Diagnosis Is The Start To Healing

As hard as it is for us to find out that we have any type of health challenge; facing it head on is key. ;;Whether its diabetes or memory loss the sooner we are open to getting tested the sooner we can be treated.; In both cases there are reversible conditions that affect our bodies and minds.; While its normal to try to compensate for a lack of memory with post it note to hide memory problems it delays diagnosis and treatment.

Like most things the longer you wait the harder it gets.; The sooner you go and receive testing the more that can be done to reverse or minimize the affects of memory loss.; Some of the benefits to treating memory problems include:

  • Starting memory loss treatments
  • Understand symptoms and learning to manage them
  • Choose when home care starts or when to move to assisted living
  • Plan for and handle legal or financial situations

After talking to your doctor about your memory loss he will likely have resources such associations and organizations to help with the symptoms of dementia or memory loss.

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When To See A Doctor

Consult your doctor if memory loss is interfering with your daily activities, threatening your safety, progressing, or accompanied by other physical symptoms.

Memory loss can be caused by a variety of diseases and conditions that may worsen if left untreated.

You can book an appointment with a primary care doctor in your area using our Healthline FindCare tool.

How Is Dementia Diagnosed

Convincing someone w/ memory loss to see a doctor

There is no single test for dementia. To diagnose it, your doctor will:

  • Do a physical examination.
  • Ask questions about recent and past illnesses and life events. The doctor will want to talk to a close family member to check details.
  • Ask you to do some simple things that test your memory and other mental skills. Your doctor may ask you to tell what day and year it is, repeat a series of words, or draw a clock face.

The doctor may do tests to look for a cause that can be treated. For example, you might have blood tests to check your thyroid or to look for an infection. You might also have a test that shows a picture of your brain, like an MRI or a CT scan. These tests can help your doctor find a tumour or brain injury.

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Talk To Your Doctor About Dementia Expert Advice

Significant changes in memory are not normal at any age and should be investigated by a doctor as soon as possible.

It’s important not to assume a person has dementia. Many other conditions can cause the symptoms of dementia, so the first step is to talk to your doctor.

A medical diagnosis is important because there could be other reasons for these changes, such as:

  • medicines or alcohol
  • mild cognitive impairment

Watch the video below and learn how you can start a conversation with someone who may be showing signs of dementia about the need to see a doctor.

Read the related video transcript

Dementia Alzheimer’s Disease And Memory Loss

Understandably, discovering that you have trouble with memory and thinking can be worrisome. You want answers and options. At the Cognitive Disorders Program, part of the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan Health System, our multidisciplinary team of experts has the experience and cutting-edge resources to properly diagnose you and create a treatment plan allowing you the best quality of life possible.

We see patients with a wide variety of cognitive disorders, including:

  • Other disorders of cognitive impairment

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When To See A Doctor For Memory Loss

Its time to consult a doctor when memory lapses become frequent enough or sufficiently noticeable to concern you or a family member. If you get to that point, make an appointment as soon as possible to talk with your primary physician and have a thorough physical examination. Even if youre not displaying all the necessary symptoms to indicate dementia, now may be a good time to take steps to prevent a small problem becoming a larger one.

Your doctor can assess your personal risk factors, evaluate your symptoms, eliminate reversible causes of memory loss, and help you obtain appropriate care. Early diagnosis can treat reversible causes of memory loss, lessen decline in vascular dementia, or improve the quality of life in Alzheimers or other types of dementia.

Treatment As Dementia Gets Worse

Memory Loss: Whatâs Normal and When to Visit Your Doctor ...

The goal of ongoing treatment for dementia is to keep the person safely at home for as long as possible and to provide support and guidance to the caregivers.

Routine follow-up visits to a health professional are necessary to monitor medicines and the person’s level of functioning.

Eventually, the family may have to consider whether to place the person in a care facility that has a dementia unit.

Taking care of a person with dementia is stressful. If you are a caregiver, seek support from family members or friends. Take care of your own health by getting breaks from caregiving. Counselling, a support group, and adult day care or respite care can help you through stressful times and bouts of burnout.

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Planning For The Future

If possible, make decisions while your loved one is able to take part in the decision making. These are difficult but important conversations. Questions include:

  • What kind of care does he or she need right now?
  • Who will take care of him or her in the future?
  • What can the family expect as the disease progresses?
  • What kind of financial and legal planning needs to be done?

Education of the family and other caregivers is critical to successfully caring for someone who has dementia. If you are or will be a caregiver, start learning what you can expect and what you can do to manage problems as they arise. For more information, see Home Treatment.

When Should You Talk To A Doctor For Memory Problems

Maybe you cant remember the name of that one store that used to be downtown, or you misplace your keys more often than you used to. Forgetfulness isnt uncommon, and recalling information or retrieving memories may get increasingly difficult as you get older. Dramatic memory loss is not a normal part of aging, however. How do you know if difficulty remembering things is normal, or if its an early indication of dementia or Alzheimers disease? When should you talk to your doctor about memory problems?

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Preparing For A Neurologist Appointment

  • Write down all the questions you would like to ask, like the ones listed in the section below. List your most important questions first.; It may be helpful to carry a small notebook or download a smartphone app that will include all your loved ones pertinent care information in one place.
  • Make a list of all medications including prescription, over-the-counter and supplements your loved one takes and their dosages.
  • Bring along his or her medical history and other paperwork including diagnostic test and lab results, as well as imaging scans like X-rays and MRIs.
  • Bring a list of your loved ones other physicians who should have access to their neurology records.
  • Ask the neurologist if there are any forms you can complete prior to your visit so you can focus, as much as possible, on keeping your loved one calm and stress-free for the appointment.;

How Does Aging Change The Brain

best doctor for memory loss

When youre in your 20s, you begin to lose brain cells a few at a time. Your body also starts to make less of the chemicals your brain cells need to work. The older you are, the more these changes can affect your memory. Aging may affect memory by changing the way the brain stores information and by making it harder to recall stored information. Your short-term and remote memories arent usually affected by aging. But your recent memory may be affected. For example, you may forget names of people youve met recently. These are normal changes.

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Which Provider Is Best For Me

It is recommended that everyone with suspected dementia should see a specialist to receive a proper examination and diagnosis. There are many different kinds of medical professionals including primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, neurologists, etc., and trying to find the right one can be a long and tedious experience. There are many different dementia-specific specialists:

  • Geriatricians are primary care internists or family practitioners who specialize in complex conditions of older people. They can provide care for all of an older adults medical needs, but do not specialize in brain or memory problems.
  • Geriatric psychiatrists specialize in the mental and emotional needs of older individuals. They conduct thorough memory, mood, sleep, and thinking evaluations, and are particularly good at assessing memory problems associated with life stress, depression, anxiety, excess drinking, or family conflicts.
  • General neurologists and psychiatrists perform memory evaluations, but do not specialize in Alzheimers and may treat few people with dementia.
  • Behavioral neurologists specialize in cognitive problems such as memory loss, and are very good at detecting subtle brain injuries such as a small stroke or an infection that may be causing the memory problems. They also conduct very thorough neurological and cognitive exams.

How To Recognize And Treat Serious Memory Loss

Some forms of memory loss are temporary and can be treated

Many things can cause serious memory problems, like blood clots, depression and Alzheimers disease.

Here are some of the triggers and treatments for serious memory problems.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can cause serious memory problems. These problems should go away once you get treatment. Conditions that may cause memory loss are:

  • Reaction to certain medicines.
  • Not eating enough healthy foods, or lacking certain vitamins and minerals.
  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Blood clots or tumors in the brain.
  • Head injury, like a concussion from a fall or accident.
  • Thyroid, kidney or liver problems.

These medical conditions are serious. See your doctor for treatment.

Emotional Problems

Some emotional problems in older people can cause serious memory problems. Feeling sad, lonely, worried, or bored can cause you to be confused and forgetful.You may need to see a doctor or counselor for treatment. Once you get help, your memory problems should get better. Being active, spending more time with family and friends, and learning new skills can also help you feel better and improve your memory.

Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment

As some people grow older, they have more memory problems than other people their age. This condition is called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. People with MCI can take care of themselves and do their normal activities. MCI memory problems may include:

Treatment for Alzheimers Disease

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Home Remedies For Short

You might have heard that certain vitamin supplements can help improve your short-term memory. However, even though these supplements are safe, theres conflicting research on whether they help memory loss.

In some cases, they can be helpful. For example, a B-12 supplement may help if your short-term memory loss is caused by a B-12 deficiency.

Otherwise, theres mixed evidence for how well other supplements work for memory loss. For example, ginkgo biloba is a popular supplement for memory and concentration issues. But a review of 36 studies found that while the supplement is safe, its effects on dementia or other cognitive impairments is inconsistent and unreliable.

Fish oil is another supplement you may have heard helps memory. A Cochrane review found that fish oil doesnt have any significant cognitive benefits for healthy older adults. However, they suggested that more research should be done on this topic.

Curcumin, which is extracted from turmeric, has been said to help improve cognitive function, including memory.

A review of curcumins effect on people with Alzheimers disease found that theres some evidence that curcumin positively affects some of the pathways affected by Alzheimers disease. However, the researchers found that more research is needed to say definitively if curcumin can help memory problems.

Even if supplements arent effective in treating short-term memory loss, there are some lifestyle modifications you can try, including:

Reversible Causes Of Memory Loss

When Should You See Your Doctor for Memory Loss?

Its important to remember that memory loss doesnt automatically mean that you have dementia. There are many other reasons why you may be experiencing cognitive problems, including stress, depression, and even vitamin deficiencies. Thats why its so important to go to a doctor to get an official diagnosis if youre experiencing problems.

Sometimes, even what looks like significant memory loss can be caused by treatable conditions and reversible external factors, such as:

Depression. Depression can mimic the signs of memory loss, making it hard for you to concentrate, stay organized, remember things, and get stuff done. Depression is a common problem in older adultsespecially if youre less social and active than you used to be or youve recently experienced a number of important losses or major life changes .

Vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 protects neurons and is vital to healthy brain functioning. In fact, a lack of B12 can cause permanent damage to the brain. Older people have a slower nutritional absorption rate, which can make it difficult for you to get the B12 your mind and body need. If you smoke or drink, you may be at particular risk. If you address a vitamin B12 deficiency early, you can reverse the associated memory problems. Treatment is available in the form of a monthly injection.

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