Frequently, my patients will come to a visit and bring up a major concern: “Doc, I think I might have dementia; my memory seems to be slipping.” They might give examples of having difficulty finding words, forgetting people’s names, or just feeling like their thinking is slower. Many of them know a family member who has dementia, and they are worried.

My first response is to hear their concerns. Of course, if a patient is showing early signs of dementia, we want to assess that and do our best to get a diagnosis for them. What I have found, however, is that often when these concerns are raised, we find things that are not dementia to explain them.

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