Mayo Clinic on Alzheimer's Disease

By Ronald Petersen | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease

You may feel embarrassed because you constantly forget the names of people you know and the appointments you meant to keep. You may wonder why you feel so anxious or frustrated at the slightest change in your daily routine. You think, perhaps, these symptoms are due to stress or fatigue or getting old. Or you worry that they’re the result of disease or even some kind of personal failing. In any case, if you’re aware of memory problems or uncharacteristic mood swings, consider consulting a doctor.

Understandably, this can be a difficult step to take. That’s because scheduling an appointment with the doctor means admitting there might be a problem with a part of you that you’ve always depended on. You’ve counted on your memory — your ability to recall — for accomplishing many tasks and establishing a context for your life experiences. Taking the step, however, is worth the effort. The doctor may be able to identify the cause of your concerns.

If there is a memory problem, then what? The cause may be reversible. And if it’s not, a diagnosis may allow you to be treated in a way that helps you manage the condition and take positive steps toward adapting to the new circumstances.

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