Marilynn Marchionne and Lindsey Tanner, AP Medical Writers, recently wrote an article in GetHealthy.com about a difficult subject for many to discuss, dementia.  Here is an excerpt.

Too few people with signs of mental decline or dementia are getting checked during routine medical visits or told when a problem is found, says a panel of Alzheimer’s disease experts who offered new guidance Sunday.

The idea is to get help sooner for people whose minds are slipping — even if there’s no cure.

Though mental decline can be an uncomfortable topic for patients and their doctors, the panel says family physicians should do a thorough evaluation when concerning symptoms arise and share the diagnosis candidly.

Patients and family members should push for an evaluation if they’re worried that symptoms might not be normal aging — the difference between occasionally misplacing keys versus putting them in the freezer or being confused about their function.

“By the time you forget what the keys are for, you’re too far gone to participate in your own care. We’ve lost probably a decade” that could have been spent planning, said the panel’s leader, Dr. Alireza Atri, a neurologist at Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Arizona.

It’s not just memory that can suffer when mental decline starts, Atri said.

“It’s actually people’s judgment being off, their character and personality being off,” sometimes years before dementia is diagnosed, he said.

Continue reading this very informative article.