A standard part of aging is experiencing some degree of memory loss and thinking skills. There is a difference between average memory loss and memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. Average age-related memory loss doesn't prevent you from living a full, productive life. These memory changes are generally manageable and don't disrupt your ability to work, live independently or maintain a social life.
If you or a loved one experiences memory loss that disrupts your life and ability to work, this could be a sign of dementia. If you're concerned about memory loss, see your doctor, who will review your history and symptoms and provide appropriate treatment. There are tests to determine the degree of memory impairment and diagnose the cause. Unfortunately, there aren't any medicines that can cure dementia or slow it down. But there are treatments to help ease some of its symptoms.
The two most commonly prescribed medicines for dementia are cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine (Namenda). Cholinesterase is often prescribed for early-onset Alzheimers or dementia, while memantine is for more progressive stages of the disease. If memory loss is detected early enough, these prescribed medications offer tremendous benefits, including less anxiety, improved motivation, and better concentration and memory. And some can continue with their regular activities and living standards.
If your loved one has moderate to severe Alzheimer's, their doctor may prescribe them memantine (Namenda) for their symptoms. This medication can help improve memory, attention, reasoning, and language. Often hallucinations (seeing things that aren't there), agitation, aggression, and irritability all improve with this medication.
Variables known to contribute to healthy brain aging include: diet, exercise, sleep, cognitive stimulation, social stimulation, and decreased stress. These lifestyle factors are essential to keeping your brain healthy. Unfortunately, none of the medications currently available are known to help prevent the underlying disease process of plaque and tangle formation in the brain in Alzheimer's disease. We have learned that the earlier we can identify patients for intervention, the greater the likelihood of impacting disease progression. Early detection is critical to the treatment and prevention of more severe memory loss.
North Suffolk Neurology is a full-service Neurology, Headache Medicine, and Sleep Medicine practice consisting of dedicated, experienced staff committed to helping our patients and their families maintain and improve their health. For all in-office appointments & inquiries, please call (631) 364-9119. You can also schedule a telehealth appointment by calling (631) 886-4571.