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Memory Clinics Overview

A major barrier to quality care for persons affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and their families is the inability or failure to obtain a timely and accurate diagnosis. An estimated 50 percent of people with a dementing illness are never diagnosed or diagnosed at advanced stages of the disease when support, education and current treatments are less effective. WAI offers a network of over 30 affiliated Dementia Diagnostic Clinics, including clinics in Milwaukee serving the African-American and Latino communities. These diverse state-wide Memory Clinics, provide quality care to more than 3,000 new patients annually, many from rural, underserved parts of Wisconsin. Through these Memory Clinics, WAI also provides education, mentorship and support to nearly 200 physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, psychologists, social workers, nurses and therapists within this statewide network.

 

If you have concerns about memory loss, thinking skills or behavioral changes in yourself or a loved one, an important first step toward diagnosis and treatment includes contacting your primary care provider or nearby memory clinic for an evaluation.

 

Early Diagnosis is Key

Dementia refers to decline in thinking abilities to the degree that it interferes with a person’s day-to-day function. Causes of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia among others.  Cognitive thinking problems related to depression, adverse drug effects, sleep apnea, thyroid and other medical problems may be reversible if detected early.  Hence, it is important to identify the actual cause of dementia in order to provide the most appropriate care.  In the cases where it can be reversed, the person may be able to return to their previous abilities. 

 

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias may help people make sense of what they or their loved one is going through. It allows patients and families to plan, maximize care and make decisions regarding living arrangements, finances and legal issues and other concerns.

While there is no single diagnostic test to detect Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, these conditions may be diagnosed by reviewing a detailed history, a complete physical and neurological examination, cognitive assessment, laboratory tests and brain scans.

 

To find a WAI-affiliated dementia diagnostic clinics, please CLICK HERE for a list of clinics.

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