Read PDF How Experts Look at Ageing - The Alzheimers & Dementia

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These tests can therefore help doctors work out what's happening, but they should never be used by themselves to diagnose dementia. To rule out other possible causes of your symptoms and look for possible signs of damage caused by Alzheimer's disease, your specialist may recommend having a brain scan. Read more about tests for diagnosing dementia. Some specialist centres offer scans that look at brain function and particular protein deposits. But these are usually restricted for use in clinical trials.

Your Walk May Indicate Alzheimer's

In rare special circumstances, it may be recommended that fluid from your spinal canal is taken to analyse for proteins related to dementia known as a lumbar puncture. But this is not used routinely as a test for dementia and is more commonly used for research purposes. It may take several appointments and tests over many months before a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can be confirmed, although often it may be diagnosed more quickly than this. Some people find it helpful to seek information and plan for the future, but others may need a longer period to process the news.

Forgetfulness is a common complaint among many of us as we get older.

What Is Alzheimer's?

You find yourself standing in the middle of the kitchen wondering what you went in there for. Age-related memory changes are not the same thing as dementia.

More about dementia home care

It takes longer to learn and recall information. In fact, we often mistake this slowing of our mental processes for true memory loss. But in most cases, if we give ourselves time, the information will come to mind. The brain is capable of producing new brain cells at any age, so significant memory loss is not an inevitable result of aging. But just as it is with muscle strength, you have to use it or lose it.

Your lifestyle, habits, and daily activities have a huge impact on the health of your brain. Whatever your age, there are many ways you can improve your cognitive skills , prevent memory loss, and protect your grey matter. For most people, occasional lapses in memory are a normal part of the aging process, not a warning sign of serious mental deterioration or the onset of dementia. The following types of memory lapses are normal among older adults and generally are not considered warning signs of dementia:.

The memory lapses have little impact on your daily performance and ability to do what you want to do.

Our vision is to add life to years, not simply years to life.

Dementia, on the other hand, is marked by a persistent, disabling decline in two or more intellectual abilities such as memory, language, judgment, and abstract thinking. Mild cognitive impairment MCI is an intermediate stage between normal age-related cognitive changes and the more serious symptoms that indicate dementia. MCI can involve problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes, but the line between MCI and normal memory problems is not always a clear one. The difference is often one of degrees. If you have mild cognitive impairment, you and your family or close friends will likely be aware of the decline in your memory or mental function.

But, unlike people with full-blown dementia, you are still able to function in your daily life without relying on others. Some people with MCI plateau at a relatively mild stage of decline while others even return to normal. The course is difficult to predict, but in general, the greater the degree of memory impairment, the greater your risk of developing dementia some time in the future.

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.

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Your doctor can assess your personal risk factors, evaluate your symptoms, eliminate reversible causes of memory loss, and help you obtain appropriate care. Chances are the doctor will also ask you or your partner to keep track of your symptoms and check back in a few months. If your memory problem needs more evaluation, your doctor may send you to a neuropsychologist. There are many other reasons why you may be experiencing cognitive problems, including stress, depression, and even vitamin deficiencies.


Sometimes, even what looks like significant memory loss can be caused by treatable conditions and reversible external factors, such as:. Depression can mimic the signs of memory loss, making it hard for you to concentrate, stay organized, remember things, and get stuff done. Do you have an experience to share? Or are you just interested in sharing information about women's health and wellbeing? If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc. Future Menu. What is BBC Future? Follow the Food.

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