Worried About Memory Loss?

Let’s face it, we all are. Every time we forget a date, a face, our keys, or anything, either trivial or important, a cloud comes over us regarding our potential memory loss. Memory loss is part of normal aging with many additional issues leading to increased symptoms. How do you know if your forgetfulness is a regular part of getting older or the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia? There are steps you can take to feel more in control, and more in the know, by getting a correct diagnosis.

  1.  Ask family and friends if they’ve noticed changes in your behavior, your personality or your memory. Sometimes loved ones are the first to notice a change. In fact, friends and family often spot the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s better than traditional screening tests, according to a 2010 study at the Washington University School of Medicine.
  2. Talk to your doctor. Prior to an appointment, write down the memory symptoms you’ve been concerned about, and be as detailed as possible. After an initial appointment, your primary care physician may refer you to a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a neuropsychologist or other specialist for additional memory testing.
  3. Consider volunteering for a clinical study. Clinical studies help find potential new treatments for various conditions, including those that may impact memory and thinking skills. Two new clinical studies are testing whether an investigational medication can slow the development of symptoms in people experiencing mild cognitive impairment. Search for Alzheimer’s and dementia clinical trials to find a match for yourself.
  4. If you receive a clean bill of health from your doctor, address any underlying problems. Sleep deprivation can cause memory loss symptoms, so make sure you’re getting enough rest. Chronic stress from your work or personal life can also contribute negatively to memory. Memory issues can be much worse if you are experiencing both sleep loss and stress. Depression also impacts your ability to store new memories and can affect short-term memory. Other conditions including hyperthyroidism and concussion can also cause memory loss symptoms. Even regular multi-tasking can reduce your ability to retain information and create new memories.
  5. If your doctor does diagnose you with memory loss, know that there are benefits to early detection. You can receive the maximum benefit from existing treatments that can help slow memory loss and extend independence. Early intervention may be an option for you. By NancyRyerson/http://www.nextavenue.org

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