Why acting early matters
Sharing details about your memory and thinking issues with your doctor can help determine if testing is the next step for you.
Tests are available to potentially help identify the cause of your memory and thinking issues
Diagnosing potential causes of thinking or memory issues can be difficult, as many of these conditions have similar symptoms. To evaluate what might be the problem, your doctor may run a few tests that assess your thinking, memory, and decision-making abilities:
- First, you may have to discuss your medical history
- Next, your doctor may give you a verbal test or questionnaire
- Then, you may have to do blood tests, as well as physical and neurological exams
- Finally, your doctor may conduct additional tests, including brain imaging tests, to learn more about your condition
Medicare provides coverage for an annual memory and thinking assessment after you turn 65.* Talk to your doctor about assessing your brain health during your annual checkup.
Clinical assessments help your doctor evaluate your memory and thinking issues, and determine whether to request further testing.
There are three different types of tests that may help identify amyloid plaques in the brain:
Positron emission tomography (PET) scans
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tests
You and your doctor can use the results of these tests to better understand your memory and thinking issues to help determine the next steps.
Ask your doctor about getting tested to help you understand the potential cause of your memory and thinking issues.
The earlier you test, the more options you may have, and the more you can plan.
Below are some key questions you can ask your doctor at your next appointment
My memory and thinking issues are becoming more frequent. What can I do?
How do I know if my memory and thinking issues are more than normal aging?
What's causing my memory and thinking issues?
Do I need to see a specialist to explore what's causing the issues I'm having?
Are there any tests that you think are appropriate for me?
What is amyloid? Have you tested for this with other patients?
Already spoken with your doctor or still have more questions about memory and thinking issues? See what else you can ask about amyloid.
How are amyloid tests performed? How long does this type of test usually take?
What does a positive amyloid test mean? What does a negative amyloid test mean?
What options do I have if I get a positive test result for an excessive buildup of amyloid?
How might I benefit from getting tested for amyloid?