Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I'm So Forgetful! - Am I Getting Dementia?

We all forget things now and then. Perhaps we dial the wrong telephone number, or come home and realize we forgot the milk at the grocery store. However, if these instances continue to happen more frequently, you may be asking yourself if this is a normal part of aging or the beginning of something worse, such as dementia.

A key characteristic of dementia is that the loss of memory and thinking abilities affects the ability to carry out daily activities. Alzheimer's disease, one of the most common memory diseases, is only one type of dementia. Symptoms tend to be only mild at first, but continue to progress over time. According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

Common symptoms of dementia include being unable to follow directions or remember things, changing moods and personality, becoming lost in familiar places, repeating the same questions and stories, and being unable to carry out daily activities, such as driving a car. If you believe you are experiencing a decline in memory function, it is always best to schedule an appointment with your physician. Medications are available that can help slow the rate of memory loss. Unfortunately, to date there is no cure for dementia.

For more information, visit the National Institute on Aging, at http://www.nia.nih.gov/ or the Alzheimer's Association at http://www.alz.org/index.asp.

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