You walk to your fridge, open the door, and look inside. However, you can’t remember what you’re looking for. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Everyone forgets things sometimes. But when forgetting and losing the ability to do things you once enjoyed becomes an everyday reality, it’s worth determining whether you’re simply distracted or there’s something more serious going on.
Through a series of simple tasks and exercises, cognitive testing can help you measure your memory, visual and spatial orientation, and language skills.
Our neurologist, Dr. David Sudderth, uses his expertise to diagnose cognition issues and recommend lifestyle changes, and he sometimes prescribes medications to slow down or improve cognition.
Read on to learn how cognitive testing may help you get to the root of your issues.
Symptoms of cognitive issues
In the case of most cognitive issues, symptoms are mild. Although you may not notice any changes in your mood, your friends and family may notice some differences.
Symptoms of cognitive disorders may include the following:
- Poor short- or long-term memory
- Poor spatial and visual orientation
- Poor motor coordination
- Impaired judgement
- Irritability and mood swings
The signs of mild cognitive impairment are subtle. You may have trouble regulating your mood, finding your way around familiar spaces, or lose your train of thought during conversations.
In some people, mild cognitive impairments never progress. With the right treatment, a person may even see an improvement in their cognition.
Who’s at risk for developing cognitive impairments
You might benefit from cognitive testing if you’ve been exposed to environmental toxins known to cross the blood-brain barrier, have a family history of cognitive disorders, or suffer from a comorbidity. Risk factors include the following:
- Recovering from brain trauma
- Exposure to heavy metals like lead, mercury, or aluminum
- A family history of cognitive impairments
- Hypertension, thyroid disorders, or diabetes
- A B12 deficiency caused by malabsorption or by a poor diet
In the elderly, cognitive impairment may also occur as a side effect from medications due to impaired kidney function. Medications that may cause issues with your cognition include antidepressants, corticosteroids, NSAIDs, and certain heart medications.
How cognitive testing can help
Cognitive testing won’t tell you what type of cognitive impairment you have, but it will tell you if you suffer from cognitive issues.
If your results aren’t typical, Dr. Sudderth may recommend further testing or look at your medical history to determine what’s causing your problems. In many cases, issues such as vitamin deficiencies, side effects from medications, or uncontrolled hypertension are to blame.
Get peace of mind by contacting our office in Fort Myers, Florida, to schedule an appointment. We can help you identify potential problems and create a customized treatment plan so you’ll feel better as soon as possible.