Testing for Memory Loss

May 13, 2018

It’s a good idea to see your regular doctor if you’re worried about your memory. You may be having changes in your memory that are normal for everyone as they get older. Or you may be having some memory changes that are signs of an illness.

Is this normal?

As we get older, some memory loss is normal. You might misplace your glasses. Or, maybe you occasionally forget a person’s name, but recall it later. Those changes are normal.

Here are some signs you might be having more serious trouble with your memory:

  • You’re having trouble figuring out how to do things that used to be easy for you—like paying bills or keeping track of your medicine.
  • You get confused when you drive or walk somewhere you usually go.

Causes and treatment

Many health problems can cause memory changes. Some of these can be treated, for example, certain kinds of infections, or not taking the right vitamins or drinking enough liquids. Some medicines can cause memory loss.

Other causes of memory loss are Alzheimer’s disease and strokes. It’s important to see a doctor to figure out what might be causing your memory loss and what to do about it.

Choosing a doctor

Start by talking to your regular doctor (your internist or primary care physician). Your doctor may give you a referral you see a neurologist or a geriatrician (a doctor who works with older adults).You can also find them at several specialty memory clinics in DC.

Both neurologists and geriatricians are the best kinds of doctors to see about memory loss.

Preparing for your appointment

Be sure to take the following information with you to your appointment.

  • Your health information
  • A list of the medicines you are taking
  • A list of the other doctors you see
  • Your Medicare card and other insurance cards

It’s also a good idea to bring along a relative or friend who can talk about any memory changes they are seeing.