As the population ages, more and more individuals find themselves wondering if their every day forgetfulness is something more serious. We have learned much about dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. While aging is the greatest risk factor, it is not normal to have significant memory issues just because we age. So how do we know when to be concerned about our memory? And when should we seek medical attention if we feel there are changes present that warrant further evaluation?
When to be concerned about your memory:
We all have ordinary, normal absentminded moments on a daily basis when our minds are distracted. We may look for hours for where we placed something. Why did I enter this room? Who was I going to call? My personal favorite, where did I park the car in the mall parking lot? All normal examples of how the mind can leave us temporarily at a loss. While stressful at times, these moments do not interfere with our ability to manage day to day life. When memory issues cross over into one’s ability to perform the tasks necessary to manage daily living, we should be concerned something more serious is at play. Early symptoms may include difficulty with simple math problems, inability to remember new phone numbers, difficulty remembering the names of new people encountered, or problems learning new scenarios in the work place.
Benefits of Early Memory Testing:
Do you feel you are experiencing memory challenges? Are you wondering if further evaluation is warranted? Having your memory tested as soon as issues arise is highly recommended. The best thing that could happen would be you learn your memory is normal and there is no need for alarm. The peace of mind gained would be worth the testing. In addition, you would now have a baseline test on record to compare to should this be needed for future health reasons.
If your tests validate you have some form of cognitive impairment, your physician will order additional testing to determine the cause. Some times the causes for such symptoms prove to be issues other than Alzheimer’s disease. In such cases, your medical team may be able to address the causes and reverse the symptoms. If the diagnosis proves to be Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia, it is always best to obtain an early diagnosis as available treatments are most effective when administered as early as possible.
Why take Self Administered Memory Tests?
Self administered memory tests have progressed far beyond the fads and gimmicks of yesteryear. Today’s self administered memory tests are scientific tools used to help identify early signs of cognitive decline. The best tools are those designed to be reviewed with your physician. One such tool that has garnered great respect is the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) . This test is designed to detect early signs of cognitive, memory or thinking impairments. It evaluates your thinking abilities and helps physicians to know how well your brain is working. The SAGE test works well in that your physician is the one who actually scores the results. For your convenience, a link is provided to the SAGE test below:
SAGE Memory TEST: