Our ability to remember can change as we age. People are often concerned that they are “losing their memory.” In many cases, this memory loss is due to normal aging; however, in other cases, memory loss is caused by treatable medical conditions. The symptoms of these conditions may be treated by FDA-approved medications. New treatments, both symptomatic and disease modifying are being researched in clinical trials to help slow these detrimental changes.
Conditions commonly associated with memory loss include:
- Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
- Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
- Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)/ Pick’s disease
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)
- Vascular dementia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Dementias due to other causes (e.g. Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), Corticobasal Degeneration, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease)
- Various Mood Disorders
- Vitamin deficiency
- Hormonal imbalance
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)
- Prolonged anesthesia
- Anoxia (a lack of oxygen to the brain)
- Medication side effects and/or certain medication combinations
- Substance abuse
At the Memory Clinic, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of various dementias found in older adults. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, please call us to schedule an appointment at (802) 447-1409 or toll free at (866) MIND-DOC.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, please visit the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
• Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of cognitive and behavioral symptoms that result in day-to-day functional changes. This term does not identify the underlying cause/disease process that is creating the dementia symptoms. There are actually 70 to 100 different causes of dementia, some of which are mentioned above. In people over the age of 65 years, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for approximately 75% of cases.
Is Alzheimer’s disease genetic? (If my parent has Alzheimer’s disease, will I get it too?)
• Having a first-degree relative (i.e., mother, father, brother, or sister) does increase your risk; however, the single greatest risk factor for AD is advancing age.
Approximate Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s disease
How can I have a memory problem when I still remember all my kids’ birthdays and my wedding day from 45 years ago?
• We often think of memory as a single construct, but there are various types of memory. In Alzheimer’s disease, immediate short-term memory is disrupted due to brain cell loss in areas of the brain that service new learned information. Individuals’ with Alzheimer’s disease may have difficulty recalling recent conversations or events (for example in the past few hours, days or weeks), but are able to recall the details of events that occurred long ago (such as events from 40 years ago, like their wedding or childhood).