Neuroscience

Mind over memory: When you should see a doctor

Forgot where you put your car keys? It happens to all of us, but as we get older, simple forgetting isn’t so simple. Many of us worry, “What if it’s Alzheimer’s?”

According to Dr. John Morgan of the Augusta University Movement and Cognitive Disorders Center, Alzheimer’s symptoms typically begin to appear after age 60.

“But occasional forgetfulness doesn’t mean someone has Alzheimer’s,” said Morgan. “If it happens regularly, however, it could be cause for concern.”

When to See the Doctor

If you or a loved one shows any of these symptoms, be proactive and schedule an appointment with your doctor:

  • Forgetting things, especially information learned recently
  • Forgetting common words and using odd words in their place
  • Asking the same questions over and over
  • Having trouble with everyday tasks such as preparing meals or playing a favorite card game
  • Becoming lost in familiar places
  • Having sudden and unexplained mood swings or dramatic personality changes
  • Ignoring personal safety
  • Regularly repeating the same story, word for word
  • Struggling to solve simple math problems, pay bills, or balance a checkbook
  • Neglecting to bathe or change clothes
  • Misplacing items in odd places, such as putting car keys in the refrigerator
  • Constantly checking or hoarding things of no value

Still, these symptoms don’t always mean Alzheimer’s disease. Depression, drug interactions, thyroid issues and poor nutrition are just some of the many reasons you or your loved one might be experiencing memory issues, and treatment is available.

A good mental workout

Want to stay mentally sharp? Stay physically active, be engaged in social activities, and develop a hobby. For more on what you can do or to schedule an evaluation, call the Augusta University Movement Disorders/Parkinson’s Disease Center of Excellence at 706-721-4581, or visit augustahealth.org/neuro.

About the author

Augusta University Health

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.

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