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dementia or aging - I'm forgetting stuff

May 20, 2005

Lately I've noticed that I'm not remembering events that have happened as recently as a few weeks ago. When the subject comes up people in my my life are baffled that I don't remember it and it's beginning to worry me a bit. These are ordinary events such as running into a friend at a store or someone returning something they've borrowed.

How do I determine if this is just part of the aging process or if it's the beginning of dementia? I don't mean to sound alarmist, but on the off chance that it is dementia I want to start treatments early....

I'm not currently on meds and my CD4 is 1783 (thanks to a year of IL-2 treatments) and my viral load is staying below 1000.

Thanks in advance for any insight you may have...

Response from Dr. Horwath

The best way to assess the severity of your memory problem is to get some testing. The forgetting that you describe is fairly common, but testing can help determine the degree of severity, and repeat testing can tell you if it's getting worse over time.

Some simple cognitive tests are used in many doctor's offices or clinics. The most widely used is the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE). Talk to your doctor about your concerns regarding your memory. If a simple test like the MMSE picks up something, then he can examine you further to see if there are other neurological signs or other studies that might shed some light on the problem.

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