What Questions You Need To Ask Your Doctor About Your Memory Related Problem


Going to see a doctor about a memory related problem can be a daunting and stressful process. Because there are so many different possible causes of memory loss, and because diagnoses of these problems can be complicated, it is helpful to go to a doctor’s appointment prepared with all the necessary information and a list of questions, so all of your concerns are addressed. Doctors who work with patients with memory disorders suggest you keep the following questions in mind:

Are your symptoms really a problem?

This question may sound obvious – after all, you wouldn’t be at the doctor if you weren’t concerned. However, memory loss can be the result of any number of benign issues, and after discussing it with your doctor you may discover that the symptoms you are experiencing are minor when compared to symptoms of medically specified memory disorders.

  Could Alzheimer’s be behind your symptoms?

Alzheimer’s is naturally a person’s first concern when they begin to experience noticeable memory problems. Alzheimer’s is not the only thing that could be causing your problems, and though diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is complex, your doctor, in some cases, may be able to rule it out entirely on your first visit.

What non-Alzheimer’s conditions could be causing your problem?

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s is a matter of ruling out other conditions. Understanding what other conditions your doctor is considering keeps you informed and allows you to be a pro-active patient. Being aware of some of the possible conditions may help alert you to lifestyle changes you can make that may affect your symptoms.

Are there any medications that might be causing your memory loss?

Sometimes a reaction to a medication, an interaction between medications you are taking or an incorrect dosage can cause a memory problem. When you go to your appointment, make sure you bring with you a list of all medicines you are currently taking, including over the counter cold medicines and painkillers, diet pills, vitamins and minerals, nicotine patches and gums, and even topical medicines.

Will it be necessary to do any tests, and if so, which ones?

There are a number of tests your doctor can do to diagnose a memory problem, from neurological exams to chest X-Rays and EEGs. If your doctor is doing any tests, makes sure you understand why, and equally important, make sure you understand why he is not doing others.

How long will it take to diagnose your problem?

Diagnosing a cause for memory related problems can be a lengthy process, but asking this question will allow you to prepare yourself for what to expect and keep your expectations realistic.

If your doctor does diagnose Alzheimer’s, what should you expect?

The potential of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is intimidating to patients. Take the time to go over in detail the progress of Alzheimer’s disease with your doctor. You may want to bring a family member or friend who may be a potential caregiver in with you as well.

What kinds of medications are available to you?

Make sure your doctor put all your options out on the table for you, and ask about the pros and cons of each. Also make sure to ask your doctor if the suggested medications are compatible with medicine you already taking, in case any changes need to be made. There are medications out there that can help patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease maintain cognitive functioning for longer than they could expect to without medication, and there are medications available that can treat other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, such as depression and behavioral issues.

What kinds of support organizations are available to you and your family?

If your doctor diagnoses Alzheimer’s, ask for information about groups in your area that help patients, family, and caregivers cope with the disease.

Keep in mind when you see you doctor about your memory loss that not only will you have many questions to ask, but that your doctor will also have a lot of questions for you. In addition to your list of questions and concerns, go into your appointment with all of the information your doctor will need from you – your medications and dosages, family health history, and personal health history.