Mental Health Public Health

The Importance of Getting Screened Early for Memory Loss

Older man talking to his doctor

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Forgotten plans or misplaced items are normal occurrences as you age. But sometimes, memory loss can be a sign of a more serious condition, like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

We’re here with our expert in senior memory care and well-being, board-certified geriatrician Valeria Baldivieso, MD, to help educate us on why it’s crucial to get screened early for memory loss, as well as the types of screenings you might undergo.

Why Get Screened for Memory Loss?

The earlier you get screened, the earlier potential problems can be detected and treated.

According to Dr. Baldivieso, "It's important to have early detection so we can work with patients to take steps to keep dementia from progressing. We know the main risk factor for developing dementia, and specifically Alzheimer's disease, is age. Many people in our older population think that cognitive changes are normal. But there is a difference between what is normal and what might be a sign of something more serious."

A growing body of evidence suggests that healthy lifestyle choices may reduce the risk of dementia and improve brain health. Getting screened can also motivate those at risk to get better sleep, stay physically active, keep their social connections strong and refrain from smoking and consuming too much alcohol. All these factors can make a major difference in your prognosis.

What Memory Loss Screenings Are Used?

We want to know exactly what's causing your memory loss or confusion. To find solid answers, we'll use a combination of physical and mental exams, including:

  • Blood and other lab tests
  • Brain scans
  • EEGs (Electroencephalogram) to measure brain-wave activity
  • Physical and neurological exams
  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Verbal and written tests that measure your memory, cognitive and thinking abilities

Dr. Baldivieso says, “These tests will help us better understand your whole health and your medical history, putting us on the path to creating a personalized and compassionate dementia or Alzheimer's care plan for you if need be.”

Signs and Symptoms of Concern

“One of the first warning signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is the experience of memory loss,” states Dr. Baldivieso.

Other signs can include:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as getting lost in a familiar place or repeating questions
  • Trouble handling money and paying bills
  • Difficulty completing everyday tasks at home, in the workplace or during leisure time
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them
  • Changes in mood, personality or behavior

Talk to your health care provider about a memory loss screening if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day life. “We want you and your family can get all the support you need as early as possible,” Dr. Baldivieso encourages.

Exceptional Whole-Person Neuro Care

The memories you’ve made and have yet to make matter. At AdventHealth, we’re dedicated to helping preserve them by meeting your neuro care needs — including the physical, emotional and spiritual needs that make a life whole. We provide world-class neurological care for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and many other conditions. Visit us here for comprehensive neurological care.

Be part of the next breakthrough in Alzheimer's care. As a research participant, you could access new and innovative therapies that may not be available otherwise, help advance medical knowledge to benefit future generations, and receive expert care from our experienced, compassionate team. Visit BeTheBreakthrough.com to learn more about available research studies.

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