‘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 information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and information purposes only. It does not take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any decisions about your health or changes to medication, diet and exercise routines you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional.

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