Memory loss or dementia? Everyone forgets things from time to time. How often have you misplaced your car keys or forgotten the name of a person you just met? A fairly common part of aging, to some degree, are memory problems as well as a modest decline in other thinking skills. There is a difference, however, between normal changes in memory and memory loss associated with dementia. Getting a prompt diagnosis and appropriate care is important.
As your body undergoes many changes with aging, some may experience normal age-related changes in memory and thinking. Dementia, or severe memory loss that interferes with your daily life, however, is not part of the normal aging process.
Dementia is the term for a group of symptoms that occur when the brain is damaged by disease. This can include Alzheimer’s disease or diseases of the blood vessels that can cause a stroke. These can cause a significant decline in a person’s mental abilities or cognitive function—our capacity for memory, thinking, and reasoning.
For dementia to be diagnosed, a person’s symptoms must have become bad enough to significantly affect their daily life. This can mean having new problems with everyday activities around the house, in the community, or at work. An example would difficulties paying household bills, using the phone, managing medicines, or driving safely. It would be symptoms that are worse than would normally be expected for a healthy person their age. Some symptoms would be:
- Forgetting the name of close friends or family
- Forgetting recent events
- Asking the same information multiple times
- Putting objects in unusual places
- Getting very confused when planning or thinking things through
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble keeping track of monthly bills
- Frequent problems finding the right word or following a conversation
- Getting lost or not knowing where you are in a familiar place
- Becoming withdrawn or losing interest easily
- Becoming irritable or easily upset at home, at work, or with friends (See Mayo Clinic’s Memory Loss: When to Seek Help)
It is important to remember that everyone is different and not everyone with dementia will have all of these changes. Other conditions can account for some of them.
That is why it is important to visit Dulles neurologist Dr. Dulai. He can help you determine what is normal for your age, and what warrants further investigation.
See a Neurologist today for Memory Loss or Dementia
Make an appointment with Leesburg neurologist, Dr. Sarbjot Dulai. His vast experience can help diagnose and treat you if your memory loss is from dementia. You can call Neurology Associates at (703) 726-6393 to schedule a consultation.