Most of you have heard of Alzheimer's Dementia, but that is just one type of disease which can affect one's memory. There are many other types of dementia such as Lewy Body Dementia, Senile Dementia, Atherosclerotic Dementia, Parkinson's Dementia and the list goes on. Just as it is normal for our hair to slowly turn gray as we get older, it is also normal for our cognitive ability to decline as we age. With certain types of dementia, however, the rate of memory loss is much quicker. Relatively new memory medicines have shown to slow down the rate of cognitive decline, but no medicines have yet been shown to reverse memory loss.
Get tested for memory loss early! The sooner it is detected and diagnosed, the sooner we doctors can initiate treatment to slow down the decline. I often have patients come to me for memory testing when they are already in the latter stages of Alzheimer's Dementia. If we can start treatment when patients first start showing signs and symptoms of memory loss, we can provide medication and can help that patient remain relatively independent for longer periods of time, which means more time at home, more time that they do not need constant supervision, and hopefully less time or no time in a nursing home.
There is some promising research currently being done on animals that has been shown to completely reverse Alzheimer's in rats, but we can only hope that we see that type of cure for humans our lifetime.