You probably visit your primary doctor regularly, to undergo screenings for various health conditions and to stay healthy as you get older. But many people feel reluctant to discuss dementia with their doctors, and even feel tempted to hide possible symptoms. For some it’s fear of the diagnosis, while for others it’s simply embarrassment. But there are three very good reasons why you shouldn’t feel reluctant to discuss dementia with your doctor.
There’s a really good chance you don’t have dementia. Some minor cognitive issues, such as forgetting words or having trouble with multi-tasking, are normal as we age. Experiencing them doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re developing dementia.
And, in many cases, your symptoms are a real sign of something else that can be remedied. Untreated sleep disruptions, thyroid disease, depression, and vitamin B12 deficiency can all produce mild to moderate cognitive symptoms. If that’s the case, then treatment can help you get back to your old self again.
Certain lifestyle changes can help. According to the CDC, up to 40 percent of dementia cases can be staved off by lifestyle changes. Exercise, a healthy diet, proper sleep habits, and getting high blood pressure under control can all increase cognitive health and ward off dementia. Even small changes can make a big difference.
Early detection is key to treatment and a better quality of life. If you do have dementia, avoiding an official diagnosis won’t make it go away. It will just mean that you don’t receive the treatment and support that you need to live a quality life. Lifestyle modifications and modifications can help, and support services can assist you in staying connected with family and friends. Plus, new experimental treatments are being tested right now; you need a diagnosis in order to be eligible for these.
If you experience forgetfulness or other concerning symptoms, talk to your doctor at your next routine checkup. In most cases, they will be able to soothe your fears. But if you do receive a diagnosis of dementia, specialists will become available to help you delay progression of the illness and live a fulfilling life.