Each year, Medicare provides a cognitive screening for all beneficiaries as part of your annual wellness exam. However, not all primary care physicians are offering the screenings, and some patients even turn them down. But there are actually four very important reasons that you should ask your doctor about a cognitive screening at your next appointment.
Cognitive screenings are quick and simple. Remember that a screening is different from more in-depth, diagnostic testing. A screening simply tells your physician whether further investigation is warranted. A cognitive screening usually consists of several questions, and only takes a few minutes to complete with your doctor.
Many cognitive conditions are treatable. Some patients turn down cognitive screenings because they assume that they’re being tested for serious conditions which are not treatable anyway. The attitude tends to be that they would rather not even know if they’re developing a permanent condition.
But many conditions which produce cognitive symptoms, such as depression, are treatable! And sometimes, your symptoms are simply the result of side effects from medications. Once your doctor determines what’s going on, problems with memory, mood, or concentration can often be remedied.
An early diagnosis of serious conditions can lead to better results. Even if you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, learning about your condition early can lead to better results. Certain drugs are more effective in the early stages of these diseases and can offer you better quality of life for a longer period of time.
Screenings help you learn about prevention. Even if you pass the screening with flying colors, you will open the door to an important conversation with your physician. The two of you will discuss how you can protect your health and possibly prevent conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.