The Importance of a Specialist Diagnosis in Persons with Memory Problems
If you or a loved one is suffering from memory problems, there are many reasons to be assessed by a physician who specializes in this area. Memory is complex and can be affected by a variety of factors. Depression, effects of medications, and various medical illnesses are just a few of the things that can have a negative impact on one's ability to recall information. Our physicians have received specialty training in the assessment of memory and memory disorders and regularly diagnose and treat persons with memory complaints. They are experts in the various causes of disturbances in memory and the best ways to treat them. In our clinic, we carefully review each patient's story and assess memory and other aspects of thinking. The assessment of a new patient requires approximately 1 1/2 hours. Additional neuropsychological test may be necessary and this will be done on a separate day. In this encounter, any tests that have been previously performed will be reviewed and other tests will be ordered as necessary (for example blood tests, neuropsychological testing, MRI, or a PET scan), allowing us to best identify the causes of the symptoms in order to make appropriate recommendations.
Early identification of Alzheimer's disease and other causes of memory problems is key to optimizing treatment for the condition.
Potential Benefits from Early Diagnosis
- Allows early identification and treatment of reversible disorders.
- Allows more time to address safety issues, potentially preventing accidents or emergencies (e.g. traffic accidents).
- Allows patients to be involved in management of their financial and healthcare directives (respect for patients' autonomy).
- Referral for ongoing clinical trials and other studies.
- Allows the patient to better understand the disease.
- Allows patients to make choices about treatment options, financial plans, healthcare directives, and long-term care.
- Allows more time to make plans for the future such as continuing or terminating employment and selecting a health care team.
- Provides the opportunity to receive treatment earlier.
- Allows access to the latest experimental treatments.
To Family Members:
- Raises awareness of patients' deficits and daily challenges.
- Allows for a better understanding of the causes behind daily struggles and new symptoms.
- Provides the opportunity for early education about the disorder.
- Raises awareness about current and upcoming challenges, symptoms, and safety issues.
- Can improve caregivers attitude and compassion and may delay nursing home placement.
Early recognition and diagnosis can improve the quality of lives of persons and families affected by memory impairments.