Alzheimer’s Awareness — Getting to a diagnosis….

The process of getting a dementia and then a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s…

is a journey that requires journals, observation by yourself and another close to you, tests, doctor visits and …. patience.

It has happened to all of us- memory loss.

It could be as simple as losing our keys — or as serious as forgetting where we live.

How do you know if you should visit your doctor because of recent memory loss?

What information should you present to your doctor, if you think you are experiencing memory loss?

 

 

 

 

Seeking medical advice about memory loss can be scary.  However, there are reversible causes of memory loss.  This is why a doctor’s visit is important. Within a short matter of time, you could have your memory back if diagnosed with reversible memory loss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reversible Causes of Memory Loss:

 

Deficiency in Vitamin B-12
Alcohol
Depression
Medications
Head Injury
Tumors
Spinal Fluid Build up in the Brain
Hypothyroidism
Sleep Disorders
Stress
Infections

 

IF it is Alzheimer’s….

The sooner you get on the medication to slow the progression of the damage to the brain, the longer you may live a functional life.

To get the most out of your visit with the doctor, you need to be prepared and you need to be honest. It is best if you bring someone close with you to this appointment to help answer questions and give their observations. When you realize that you may have a memory problem, start keeping track of your life through a journal.

In your daily journal include: 

-The date
-Your symptoms
– Note how often they occur
– List of daily medications and when they were taken

 

 

 

 

WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU TO THE DOCTOR

-List of current medical problems
-Your memory loss journal
-List of family members with memory loss disorders
-All of your medications and vitamin supplements (just dump them in a bag and take them with you).
-Who to contact if you need help (names and phone numbers)
-List of medications both prescription and over the counter (including vitamins)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You should be prepared to answer questions from your doctor such as:

What is the amount of time you have had memory loss?

Are you under stress or depressed?

Have you had an infection recently?

Have you started a new medication?

What daily activities do you find difficult to accomplish?

Do you drink alcohol? If so, how often?

What have you done to help with your memory loss problems?

Has a major life event recently occurred?

Your doctor will likely conduct a memory test, after a physical exam.  Your doctor should conduct tests to determine if your memory loss is caused by one of the reversible memory loss causes.

If he determines that you do have a memory loss disorder, he will refer you to a specialist in memory loss/dementia.  He may also provide you with information from organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association.

Tests that may be ordered may include:

– Blood Tests (including a Lymes Disease Test if appropriate)

– Psycho-neurological Tests

– EEG

– MRI

– PET

Remember, a lot of enjoyment in life can still occur after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.  The symptoms do not move in a straight line, there will be better days and foggy days.  It is a journey that many have taken and are taking right now.  There are support groups for caregivers and lots of information available on the internet.

When your loved-one needs to move into Assisted Living or Memory Care, give West Central Solutions a call.   We are here to help you during that transition.