‘I don’t pick up on things as quickly anymore. Should I be worried?’

Jan 20, 2020
One Starts at 60 reader is concerned they might be developing dementia.

Q: My memory is okay, but I’ve noticed that I don’t pick up on things as quickly as I once did. Is this normal ageing or should I have a dementia test?

This may be part of the normal ageing process or even due to other medical conditions, other than the various forms of dementia. For example, statin therapy to lower cholesterol may cause the symptoms you mentioned, as well as an underactive thyroid, iron deficiency or a low B12 level. Alzheimer’s disease tends to present more with memory problems but if your general practitioner is concerned, you should be referred to a neurologist for a full assessment.

Ross previously answered another reader’s question about dementia:

Q: “What tests should a person have to prevent dementia, or where can I get a good diagnosis? I’m 69 and live on my own.”

There have been numerous reports suggesting that it could be possible to diagnose the various forms of dementia up to 20 years prior to clinical manifestations, but there are none in routine clinical use at present. These tests include various blood marker tests and brain scans.

At present, diagnosing early Alzheimer’s disease – also known as mild cognitive impairment – involves a combination of neurocognitive testing (a way to measure brain functioning non-invasively), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the clinically available (Apo) E blood test

If you have a question for Starts at 60’s health experts, email it to [email protected].

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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