When To Call a Doctor
Alzheimer's disease tends to develop slowly over time. If confusion and other changes in mental abilities come on suddenly, within hours or days, the problem may be Reference delirium Opens New Window. Delirium needs treatment right away.
Seek care right away if:
- Symptoms such as a shortened attention span, memory problems, or seeing or hearing things that aren't really there (Reference hallucinations Opens New Window) develop suddenly over hours to days.
- A person who has Alzheimer's disease has a sudden, significant change in normal behavior or if symptoms suddenly become worse.
Call your doctor to schedule an appointment if:
- Symptoms such as a shortened attention span, memory problems, or false beliefs (Reference delusions Opens New Window) develop gradually over a few weeks or months.
- Memory loss and other symptoms begin to interfere with the person's work or social life or could cause injury or harm to the person.
- You need help caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease.
If memory loss isn't rapidly becoming worse or interfering with work, social life, or the ability to function, it may be normal age-related memory loss. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about memory loss.
Who to see
The following health professionals can evaluate symptoms of memory loss or confusion:
- Reference Nurse practitioner Opens New Window
- Reference Physician assistant Opens New Window
- Reference Family medicine physician Opens New Window
- Reference Internist Opens New Window
- Reference Geriatrician Opens New Window
- Reference Neurologist Opens New Window
- Reference Psychiatrist Opens New Window
A family member or friend will need to go with the person who needs to be evaluated.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Reference Making the Most of Your Appointment.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 29, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Myron F. Weiner, MD - Psychiatry, Neurology