“As the pioneers of functional medicine discovered, you know you are doing something that is paradigm changing when you are doing it right in front of everyone, but no one can see it.” ~ Dale Bredesen, The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline
One of the many health issues some people begin to experience as they advance through middle age and beyond is memory lapses.
We tend to laugh it off as part of the aging process, but when memory loss and thinking problems frequently disrupt daily life, one must understand these symptoms are not a normal part of aging.
If you are experiencing memory or thinking problems, you must see your primary care doctor and explain what you are experiencing. At this point, a complete medical evaluation conducted by a licensed physician is necessary.
What This Article Covers
In this article, I’ll outline the range of options you can consider as you choose the path to treating your symptoms relating to memory loss.
- Types of doctors to consider.
- Two approaches to consider.
Types of Doctors to Consider
It’s important to understand that if you are experiencing cognitive decline symptoms, you are in no position to categorize your problem as simply a memory problem.
For instance, Dementia is not a specific disease but a range of symptoms associated with memory or thinking problems severe enough to affect a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.
Consulting a doctor early in the development of the symptoms gives you more treatment options and better potential outcomes.
People should first discuss their cognitive symptoms with their primary care physician, who is the first line of defense generalist in your overall medical care.
My physician has managed our family’s medical care for over 30 years, and we trust his recommendations.
Primary care doctors are trained in general internal medicine or family medicine.
Primary care physicians focus on diagnosing and treating common medical conditions. Cognitive disease does require specialized training to treat, so you will want a referral to a specialist once your doctor determines the concern warrants further investigation.
The specialists listed below can adequately investigate your cognitive symptoms of concern and provide a diagnosis. Your symptoms may warrant evaluation by two or more specialists who combine their findings to reach a diagnosis.
Some primary care physicians have additional training in geriatric medicine - specialized care for common conditions of those over 65 years of age. These physicians are trained to manage multiple medical conditions.
It may be beneficial to see a mental health professional rule out other causes of memory loss, such as depression, or in treating patients with dementia who are struggling with behavioral issues.
The next level specialist is seeing a Neurologist - these specialist medical doctors are trained in nervous system disorders. This includes your nervous system, spinal cord, and brain health.
Neurologists typically receive specialized, formal training in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, along with conditions such as Parkinson’s and other cognitive disorders.
A growing trend in healthcare is to see a licensed physician who practices a root-cause approach to medicine called Functional Medicine.
Under this category of doctors are those with additional training and certifications in assessing and proactive treatment of cognitive disease.
Functional Medicine specialists have the tools and experience to assess the root cause drivers of cognitive disease, review clinical data, and develop a personalized treatment plan to address the drivers of the disease.
The big idea here is you can potentially prevent the onset of cognitive disease rather than accept the inevitable and manage the slide with prescription drugs.
Two Approaches to Consider
Allopathic Medicine (also called biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine) is a system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery.
An important point to consider if you pursue the allopathic route to treating your cognitive disease is that practitioners in this arena do not generally recognize preventative or restorative methods of cognitive disease treatment as practical.
Allopathic doctors will utilize prescription drug therapy, which is not generally effective at preventing or resolving cognitive disease. Instead, it focuses on slowing the progression of diseases of the brain.
Functional Medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease.
Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness. Certain functional medicine doctors have received specialized training in assessing and treating cognitive disease.
These practitioners understand the many pathways to Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Memory Loss, know how to measure the biomarkers, and support the drivers of brain disease into optimal range.
As these pathway drivers are treated through disciplined lifestyle change and supplementation, symptoms of cognitive disease can improve.
The research supports the idea that diseases of the brain can be prevented if identified early enough. Research also supports resolution or improvement in cognitive disease symptoms if identified early enough and paired with treatment and disciplined lifestyle change.
It’s Time to Combat Memory Problems
While many assessment and treatment options are available, based on the research and treatment results I’ve learned, we recommend starting with an appointment with your local primary care physician.
Your primary care doctor will likely determine if your symptoms warrant further investigation. Then at this point, you’ll need to decide on the approach.
Our recommendation at Tiger Medical Institute is to work with a functional medicine doctor, trained and certified in assessing, treating, and preventing cognitive disease.
Cognitive diseases (such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Memory Loss) have complex and multiple pathways to disease. Current drug treatment options cannot and do not target enough of these pathways to prevent and treat cognitive diseases effectively.
The Chief Medical Officer at Tiger Medical Institute is trained and certified in assessing and treating cognitive disease utilizing a root-cause functional approach.
Tiger Medical Institute utilizes genetic, biomarker, and cognitive function testing to assess risk for cognitive disease and extensive intake processes to determine if symptoms are present to pursue more aggressive treatment protocols.
If you present with high-risk factors or are symptomatic, our doctor can put you on a proactive treatment plan to lower the risk of the onset of full-blown cognitive disease.
To learn more, review these additional articles on cognitive disease:
- How Come I Am All of a Sudden So Forgetful?
- How Can I Improve My Memory and Remember?
Book a call today if you want to move forward and speak to a professional at Tiger Medical Institute to learn even more about your options.