Memory loss is a frightening part of aging, but not all memory lapses mean you have dementia. If you’re concerned about memory loss in yourself or a loved one, the experienced team at HG Doctors can help. They offer memory testing and treatment that targets the cause of your memory loss and supports your overall health. To schedule memory testing, call the office or book an appointment online.
Memory Testing Q & A
What causes memory loss?
Forming memories and retaining short- and long-term memories requires the coordination of several parts of your brain, as well as healthy nerves and brain chemicals. You lose your memory when your brain is damaged or the nerves can’t function.
These are a few examples of problems that can cause memory loss:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Epilepsy and seizure disorders
- Brain infections or tumors
- Cancer treatment
- Thyroid disorders
- Certain medications
- Excessive alcohol use
Some mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder may cause memory loss.
What should I know about memory loss due to dementia?
Dementia generally refers to a group of symptoms including memory loss, confusion, and changes in cognitive skills, personality, and behavior. Some medical conditions can cause dementia, but this type of dementia may be reversed when the underlying problem is treated.
There are four types of dementia that get progressively worse and for which there’s currently no cure:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Lewy body dementia
- Frontotemporal dementia
Memory loss is the earliest sign of the first three types of dementia. However, frontotemporal dementia usually causes personality and behavioral changes before changes in memory.
What types of memory testing might I receive?
The team at HG Doctors performs several types of memory tests, depending on the suspected problem. For example, following a concussion, they ask a few simple questions to evaluate your short-term memory, long-term recall, and your ability to stay attentive.
When your memory loss may be due to dementia, your testing may include:
A Mini-Cog test is usually the first type of memory testing performed because it’s quick and easy. Your doctor asks you to repeat three unrelated words, draw a clock showing a specific time, and then recall the three words.
General practitioner assessment of cognition (GPCOG)
This memory test also doesn’t take long, but it gathers more information than the Mini-Cog. You’re asked to tell the date, remember and recall a name and address, draw a clock, and talk about something that was recently in the news.
As part of the GPCOG, your doctor at HG Doctors also talks with someone who knows you well, asking them about changes in your memory and whether you have difficulty speaking, remembering words, or managing money.
When a Mini-Cog or GPCOG indicates you have some memory loss, your doctor may recommend a thorough neuropsychology assessment to evaluate language, executive function, mood, behavior, attention, and processing speed.
If you’re concerned about memory loss, call HG Doctors or book an appointment online.