Senior hispanic women with memory loss

When people begin to experience memory loss, they may talk to their family practice doctor.  Many primary care physicians are often the first ones to suspect a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, a particular type of dementia.  Their doctor will evaluate general health and do initial cognitive screenings to identify conditions that affect how well the mind is working.  The primary care physician may refer the patient to a specialist, such as a neurologist or geriatrician, for further assessment and treatment.

Does memory loss mean dementia or Alzheimer’s?

Memory loss is not the only symptom of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.  It’s normal to experience some memory loss or forgetfulness with age.  Mild memory loss may never progress to dementia, and most people are able to carry on with daily activities without problems.  In a small percentage of people, memory loss may deteriorate to the point that they can no longer care for themselves.

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.  This is an appropriate time for individuals and families to review common early symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Cognitive Changes

  • Memory loss
  • Forgetting important dates or events
  • Misplacing things
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Asking the same questions over and over
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty problem solving or reasoning
  • Poor decision making
  • Difficulty completing complex tasks
  • Difficulty planning and organizing
  • Inability to manage finances or pay bills
  • Reliance on family members to handle familiar tasks
  • Confusion

Psychological Changes

Wife Comforting Senior Husband Suffering With Dementia
  • Personality changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fearfulness
  • Agitation
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Withdrawal from social activities or hobbies previously enjoyed
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Talk to Your Physician

Many times these early signs are noticed by family members.  Concerned family members may want to document symptoms or behaviors that are causing concerns.  They can offer to accompany the person to doctor appointments, if possible.  If not practical, they should at least encourage the person to speak to their physician about these important health concerns.

RMD Primary Care

The physicians at RMD Primary Care specialize in General Practice, Family Medicine, and Medical Weight Loss.  We believe that quality healthcare begins with preventative care and health maintenance.  Preventative care includes regular physical exams and health screening tests tailored to a patient’s age, health, and family history.  This helps us identify issues early before they become serious complications.  If it’s been a while since your last health check, contact our office to schedule an appointment.