Dementia & Memory Loss: Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Talking to Your Doctor
Posted By Pavilion Senior Living on June 15, 2022
Dementia and memory loss can be scary words, and it is understandable to want to avoid talking about them, especially when it’s about yourself. However, it’s vital to discuss dementia and your risk factors with your doctor, particularly as you age and your risk factors become more prevalent.
At The Pavilion Senior Living, we have experience helping individuals and families in Tennessee navigate their memory care journey, so we understand that it can be an emotional and overwhelming process. Below, our team is sharing why it’s important to have an open and honest discussion with your doctor about dementia and how it could affect you.
Knowledge is Power
It could be a fear of the unknown that is keeping you from talking to your doctor about dementia and memory loss. Fortunately, the more you learn about something, the less scary it becomes because you have the knowledge to separate fact from fiction.
So, what exactly is dementia? The National Institute on Aging defines dementia as “the loss of cognitive functioning – thinking, remembering, and reasoning – to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.”
Contrary to what many people believe, dementia is not a single disease. Instead, it is a general term used to describe a number of conditions that affect a person’s cognitive functioning. A few of the most common types of dementia include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Vascular Dementia
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies
- And Mixed Dementia
By discussing dementia and memory loss with your doctor and learning about these conditions, you can put your mind at ease and stop it from assuming the worst. At the very least, you will understand what to expect and be prepared should you ever get diagnosed with a type of dementia.
Early Detection & Diagnosis are Key
Dementia is a progressive condition. This means that the condition and its symptoms will worsen or become more severe over time. If you avoid talking to your doctor about dementia and memory loss, they may not be able to diagnose your symptoms in the early stages when it is easier to manage.
Again, talking openly with your doctor allows them to be able to detect any early signs or symptoms of dementia and work with you to address symptoms and develop a plan for moving forward.
Other Conditions Mimic Dementia Symptoms
As strange as it may sound, other conditions can cause symptoms similar to those seen in dementia. So, just because you are experiencing dementia-like symptoms, it does not automatically mean that you have it. While forgetfulness can be common as we get older, dementia and memory loss are not a normal part of aging, so dementia-like symptoms need to be discussed with a healthcare provider. These could include:
- Memory problems, particularly remembering recent events.
- Increasing confusion
- Reduced concentration.
- Personality or behavior changes
- Apathy and withdrawal or depression
- Loss of ability to do everyday tasks
However, you could be experiencing one or more of these dementia-like symptoms, Google them, and read that you have dementia – when in reality, you may be experiencing side effects from a medication or other health condition.
Other conditions that can mimic dementia could include:
- Thyroid disease
- Vision or hearing problems
- Urinary tract infections
- Vitamin deficiencies
Because there are so many possibilities, this makes it all the more important to talk to your doctor and discuss your symptoms to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Manage Your Risk Factors
As we age, our risk of developing dementia increases. But, discussing your risk factors with your doctor and what you can do to keep your brain healthy can go a long way in preventing or delaying the onset of dementia.
There are, of course, risk factors out of your control, such as age, but you have the power to manage factors like your diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices.
Your doctor understands your personal and family medical history and can help you recognize your risk. Be sure to talk openly and honestly about dementia, memory loss, and any other symptoms you may be experiencing with your doctor so you can create a customized treatment plan.
If you would like to learn more about our communities and the memory care services we provide in Lebanon and Carthage, Tennessee, we invite you to visit our website or contact The Pavilion Senior Living today.