If you are concerned about memory loss, the first step is to talk with your general practitioner about any changes you have noticed. Ask your doctor if you should be evaluated at a memory disorders center or by a geriatric neurologist to determine if your memory loss should be treated. You can also call us for referrals to geriatric neurologists or diagnostic centers in the New York City area.
Be aware that it isn’t always easy to get the information you need from your physician. A lot of people find it helpful to make a list of questions to ask before the visit. While you’re with the doctor, you may want to take notes of what's being said. It’s also a good idea to have a family member or friend accompany you on your visit so that you have an “extra pair of ears” to help you remember what was discussed.
What can I expect during an evaluation?
When you go to be evaluated for dementia, you will undergo a series of tests. These tests often include a detailed medical history, a complete physical including laboratory and blood tests, and a neurological examination to test your memory, language and orientation. A brain scan such as an MRI or CT scan will also be done. It can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks for all of the test results to come in.
Why is an evaluation important?
Alzheimer’s disease is by far the most common form of dementia, but there are many other types as well. An evaluation will help to determine what type of dementia you may have. In addition, it can also be the starting point for understanding the cause of your symptoms and determining what treatment is best for you.