Take Care of Your Health

Heart HealthGrowing evidence suggests that many factors that increase the risk of heart disease also may increase the risk of dementia. These factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. 

Following are important steps you can take to take care of you.

  • Visit your doctor regularly.
  • Know your numbers – weight, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol – and keep yourself within healthy ranges.
  • If you have diabetes, manage it properly.
  • Stop smoking. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea can result in problems with memory and thinking.
  • Take action to manage stress.
  • Seek professional assistance to address anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns.

Medicare Yearly Wellness Visit

The Medicare yearly Wellness visit is a yearly appointment with a primary care provider to create or update a personalized prevention plan. A cognitive screening is available as part of this appointment, but typically must be requested by the patient. Even if you are not currently concerned about your memory, it is a good idea to request this screening to understand your baseline. Remember, it’s never too early to begin a discussion about brain health with your provider. Be sure to ask your doctor to include this important assessment in your next Wellness visit.

Learn more about the Medicare yearly Wellness visit

Learn more about what to expect during a Cognitive Assessment

Talking with your healthcare team

If you are concerned about changes in memory or thinking, begin a conversation with your primary health care provider. Your doctor will evaluate your overall health to determine what may be causing the cognitive changes you are experiencing. Your doctor may ask you detailed questions about your symptoms and have you complete a brief written or oral examination. When discussing issues regarding changes in memory or thinking, it is always a good idea to have a close loved one or friend attend appointments with you.

The Alzheimer’s Association has developed a guide to help you navigate a conversation with your healthcare team.

You or your physician may decide it will benefit you to see a neurologist, neuropsychologist or other specialist who is an expert in brain health. These specialists may want to conduct further tests and interviews to understand your symptoms.

The Alzheimer’s Association has created a guide to help you choose a healthcare provider to evaluate memory and thinking problems.