Do you often lose your keys or are more forgetful than you were in the past? Although we all have moments when we misplace small objects or forget what others tell us, if these behaviors occur too often they could be an indication of an underlying condition.
Cognitive testing assesses your memory, concentration, processing speed, language skills, and judgment. Establishing a baseline for your cognitive abilities can be helpful for tracking changes.
As a cardiologist may look at symptoms such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, a neurologist looks at changes in your cognition to identify early signs of issues and take action as soon as possible. We asked our board-certified neurologist, Dr. David Sudderth, who’s most at risk of cognitive decline and how cognitive testing can help prevent further issues.
Cardiac and vascular problems
Blood vessel problems, including fatty acid buildup, can lead to diminished blood flow to the brain, which can impair brain function. If you’ve been diagnosed with atherosclerosis, you may be at a higher risk of developing cognitive issues, even if you haven’t experienced a stroke.
Small blockages in the brain are more common than overt strokes and can cause mild cognitive impairment and increase your risk for vascular dementia.
Activities that put you at risk of head injuries
Contact sports are known for their high risk of head trauma, so it’s important to establish a baseline to find out whether there’s a decline in the cognitive abilities of a participant over time.
When a neuropathologist analyzed the brains of 111 deceased professional NFL players, he found that 110 of them suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE can cause memory loss, confusion, depression, and overall cognitive decline years after the head trauma occurs.
Age 50 or older
Cognitive testing can help you determine whether your cognitive abilities reflect your age or are a sign of an underlying condition like dementia or depression.
For example, slower processing speed and diminished ability to grasp new concepts is a normal sign of aging, but having issues with solving simple problems could be a sign of an underlying condition.
How cognitive testing can improve your long-term life quality
Cognitive testing can prompt early detection and increase your chances of maintaining your current cognitive capacities. For example, if you suffer from heart disease or diabetes, mild cognitive impairment may prompt you to focus more on controlling your chronic diseases and improve not only your brain health but also your overall health.
Monitoring a child who plays contact sports can be a great tool to help determine whether playing sports has a negative impact on their cognitive function.
Want to find out your cognitive baseline? Contact us to schedule an appointment and get your cognitive abilities tested in our office in Fort Myers, Florida.