1 in 11 Virginians aged 45 and older is experiencing memory problems. Sometimes these problems can be a symptom of medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Healthcare providers and their patients need to be aware of the normal changes that occur with memory and thinking as we age, and the symptoms that arise when our brains are affected by a medical condition. Appropriate screening and conversations about brain health can help make sure any changes are caught early and assessed.
Brain Health Information
- Our brains age like the rest of our body. Some small changes in memory are normal.
- There are things we can do to keep our brains healthy like exercising and quitting smoking.
- If changes in your memory or ability to think start impacting your life, visit a doctor and explain what is happening.
- For persons age 65 and older who have Medicare, the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit is a yearly opportunity to discuss any changes in your memory or ability to think with your doctor.
- Sometimes changes in memory and thinking can be a symptom of medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia.
- If dementia is suspected, an early diagnosis is very important so that the patient and their family can get the medical care and help they need.
- There are Memory Assessment Centers across Virginia where you or a loved one can receive a diagnosis and treatment.
- Recent changes to Medicare allow clinicians to be reimbursed for helping patients with a new diagnosis of dementia develop a detailed plan of care.
- Doctors and patients should be having discussions about brain health at every stage of life and especially after the age of 65.
- Discussions about brain health are very important for African Americans and Hispanics due to a higher risk of having dementia later in life.