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Do I Have Dementia?

Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis




My older sister mentioned to me that she was worried about having some memory issues. As the conversation ensued, she said, “Connie, I’m terrified that I have early signs of dementia!” I’m not an expert, but I’ve spent much of my life supporting families and individuals who are dealing with it. Many factors contribute, including lack of sleep, hormonal changes, and normal aging of the brain. Our brains are like a computer---the older we are, the more information is stored. It may take longer to recall information. Nothing like a good night’s sleep for a reboot! Typical symptoms of normal memory loss would include occasionally forgetting where you put something. You might miss an appointment or forget the details of a conversation, although you do remember having it. You may have tip of the tongue moments and what I call word searching. All of this fits into the typical patterns of aging.

Beyond this normal brain aging experience may come what experts call Mild Cognitive Impairment or MCI. It can be a precursor to dementia, but not necessarily. This condition does not interfere drastically with everyday life. Individuals may learn to depend on notes and calendars for prompts. Symptoms are similar to those mentioned above but with greater frequency and intensity. It is certainly time to discuss these issues with your doctor.

Dementia is a broad term for many brain dysfunctions, including Alzheimer’s. It is crucial to get the right medical attention. The advanced symptoms that differentiate are increased disorientation to time and space, which seriously interferes with daily life activities. We hear so much about Alzheimer’s today that is is no mystery why we are concerned every time we misplace our glasses. I assured my sis that I saw no signs of dementia, and her losing sleep over it would certainly not help! The lesson: don’t keep your fears bottled up, seek help!

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