Seeing GP as soon as possible

GP Vicky Fakhoury says the sooner you start treatment, the more options you will have, and the better the potential outcomes.

Research shows that people are more afraid of dementia than most other illnesses including cancer.  The Alzheimer’s Society found that the majority of people put off going to the GP for at least a year.  This fear means that they miss the benefits that an accurate early diagnosis can bring.

Not least, it means that you can get prompt access to the medicines that can slow down the progress of your symptoms, or even improve them. They don’t work so well in the late stages, so you don’t want to miss that window of opportunity. There may be many things that you want to do before it is too late. Also there is other advice and support that can make your life with dementia better. You will have more time to prepare for the future and plan ahead with things like Powers of Attorney.

Most older people start to have some memory loss, even if it is nothing to do with dementia, so when should you go to the GP? If you’ve had problems that have gone on for six months or more, including changes in how you speak, think, feel and behave, it is well worth going to ask about it. The GP can rule out other factors that are causing your problems and refer you on to the memory clinic if needed. That’s how you’ll get help. Ignoring or hiding your problem will not make things any easier or better.

Everyone is different, but going to see the GP is the first step in finding out if there is a problem so that you can get help. Delaying may make things worse.

The more you know about dementia, the more confident you will be.

There is a good discussion of why we fear dementia here.

Reviewed March 1, 2019