CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Demystifying memory

PUBLISHED: 14:48 01 May 2013 | UPDATED: 14:57 01 May 2013

Dr Joe Stratford

Dr Joe Stratford

Archant

If you’re worried about your memory, consultant psychiatrist Dr Joe Stratford hopes to put your mind at rest

Common causes of such problems include stress, anxiety and depression. It’s not hard to see why – when people are low or preoccupied with worry, poor concentration often results, and this in turn, can lead to people failing to remember conversations, appointments or even events.

Other causes of forgetfulness can also be associated with a variety of physical factors such as vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems. A common cause of memory problems especially in middle to late age can be a cluster of conditions known as the dementias. Of these, Alzheimer’s dementia is the most prevalent but there are many different types. A small proportion has a genetic basis and can appear to run in families, but most dementias occur in association with the ageing process.

Often individuals themselves will notice difficulties with their memory or concentration, but sometimes changes can be quite subtle and can affect language – people may experience ‘going blank’ in mid-sentence or simply struggling to find the right word to use. Tasks such as mental arithmetic, spelling or ability to manage puzzles (eg crosswords or Su Doku etc) may start to become more difficult.

We would encourage individuals or families of those experiencing difficulties to firstly approach their family doctor. Often the cause may be obvious to the GP but in some cases, it may be worth a referral onto a specialist memory assessment service. Such an assessment would involve taking a detailed history of the problem as well as investigations such as blood tests, measures of concentration and memory, and often some sort of brain imaging such as a scan undertaken at a hospital or specialist unit.

Achieving a diagnosis is very important whatever the cause is found to be. This diagnostic process can often lead to reassurance that things aren’t as bad as patients/families might have imagined, or treatment and support for conditions which have been diagnosed. In those cases where dementia is diagnosed, appropriate treatment can often be started and patients as well as their families will be given information on how to access as much support and information as they need. Early diagnosis of such conditions can lead to earlier access to medication which can treat many of the symptoms and improve the long term outlook. These medications have been shown to work more effectively in the milder and early stages of dementia, so it is logical to seek diagnosis and treatment as early as possible.

One of the most satisfying aspects of my job as a consultant psychiatrist is when I’m able to reassure patients and their families that they or their loved one is not suffering from anything serious. Often people have been worrying for months or even years, and putting their minds at rest brings huge relief all round! n

Memory Clinic, tel: 07861 050104, www.cobalthealth.co.uk

0 comments

More from Out & about

Fri, 12:03

The Cotswolds are abundant with picture perfect locations ideal for a ramble. Gather loved ones, wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with one of these winter walks in the region

Read more
Mon, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Mon, 12:23

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search