What a Doctor Wants You to know about Memory Tests and Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Dr Emer MacSweeney, CEO and Medical Director at Re:Cognition Health shares her insight on the importance of memory tests and advises on some of the lesser known early symptoms of Alzheimer’s:
Memory tests are one of the easiest ways to detect cognitive impairment and possible dementia and an imperative first step toward receive an accurate and early diagnosis. If you have any concerns about your memory or notice any cognitive changes that you find worrying, for either yourself or a loved one, it’s important to consult with a doctor at as soon as possible – run don’t walk as in any conditions, especially of the brain and mind … “knowledge is power”.
As we age, it common to wonder whether the subtle forgetfulness is age-related, or if it is in fact a warning of something more serious, such as Alzheimer’s or other causes of dementia. Forgetting the name of your high school teacher or the name of a hotel you stayed in a few years ago is not a cause for concern, but forgetting the names of close family and friends, important dates or details of recent events or conversations are red flags and a strong signal that an expert assessment is required.
Most people think that Alzheimer’s is just memory loss, but it’s much more than this, with subtle symptoms progressing slowly over time, rather than a sudden change. In addition to short-term memory loss, some of the other signs to look for include:
Changes in mood and behaviour – unexpected & uncharacteristic anger and changes in mood, perhaps becoming apathetic, passive and disinterested
Confusion and lack of concentration which may lead to losing track of time or problems with processing information and decision making. New anxiety, for no apparent reason is also not to be ignored.
Forgetting words, names of places and objects or experiencing problems with speech and language. Realising your vocabulary is shrinking and using more generic in place of specific words.
Loss of sense of direction, getting lost and disorientated in a familiar environment
Difficulty in performing seemingly normal tasks which have been performed on a regular basis such as making a cup of tea or unpacking the grocery shopping, preparing a more complex meal.
Problems with calculation – managing finances, handling money or completing simple sums or puzzles may become an issue
Misplacing items such as putting keys in the freezer or milk in the dishwasher and not being able to retrace steps to find them
Poor judgement which may result in unfortunate circumstances.
Issues with visual images and spatial awareness which may include difficulty reading words, judging distances and not recognising or getting lost in a familiar environment.
If you or a friend or family member has experienced any of these early symptoms, it’s important to have a memory assessment. The symptoms may not be due to dementia and may be a result of a medical condition which is easily treated. However, if it is Alzheimer’s, there is a lot that can be done in the early stages so it’s important to take immediate action. Starting by taking a quick Memory Test is the best thing you can do for your future if you are experiencing problems with your cognition.
The Memory Clinic at Re:Cognition Health provides a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis for individuals experiencing issues with their memory. Results from the memory test will offer peace of mind for the individual, regardless of the result. If the result is positive, it can be devastating for the individual as well as their loved ones but knowing the result will give options to access help, enable planning for the future and provide options for treatment. This is more important than ever, today, as access to clinical trials which offer the potential to access new-generation medications designed to slow down or ideally halt the progression of the disease, is now a possibility. As with any disease, the earlier the diagnosis, the more opportunities are available for accessing help and treatment.
The Memory Assessment at Re:Cognition Health test is conducted by a team of leading experts and takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete. The assessment can guide access to the right services and treatments in the NHS and can also be tailored to those eager to optimise their current brain health and reduce the risk of future cognitive decline.
For further information on the Memory Package at Re:Cognition Health visit: https://recognitionhealth.com/mentalhealth/privatememory-clinic/