Brain Hiccup or Serious Concern: When is it Time to See the Doctor?

Most of us worry about the state of our brains at one time or another, and it can be hard to differentiate between a simple brain hiccup or a serious health concern. Here’s how.

Here’s how to tell a routine brain hiccup from a matter of serious concern:

PROBABLY NORMAL: You frequently lose your car keys.
SEE A DOCTOR: You look at a key and can’t remember how to use it.


PROBABLY NORMAL: You walk into a room and forget why you went there.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You forget how to find the kitchen in your own home.


PROBABLY NORMAL: You forget the name of a person you were just introduced to.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You forget the name of a family member.


PROBABLY NORMAL: You momentarily forget the name of a close friend.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You don’t remember the person who says she is your friend.


PROBABLY NORMAL: You put the paper towels in the refrigerator and the milk in the cabinet and have a good laugh about it.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You frequently have no idea where things are supposed to go.


PROBABLY NORMAL: Mornings can be hectic, and you sometimes find it difficult to leave the house on time because you misplaced your belt or forgot to set the alarm clock.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
People comment because you leave the house without showering or because your clothes are disheveled.


PROBABLY NORMAL: You can come up with examples of times when you felt your forgetfulness was worrisome.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You know that you’ve been forgetful, but you can’t remember details—you forget what it was you forgot.


PROBABLY NORMAL: You take a wrong turn on the way to your favourite grocery store, or get momentarily lost in familiar territory.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You sometimes leave home and can’t find your way back.


PROBABLY NORMAL: You forget to go to your dentist appointment.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You forget to go to your daughter’s wedding.


PROBABLY NORMAL: If asked, you could give details about yesterday’s dinner or your most recent phone call. It might take awhile, but you can do it.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You have difficulty remembering recent events. You may not recall them at all.


PROBABLY NORMAL: You enjoy seeing friends at your usual level. Socializing is fun and enjoyable.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You avoid social activities because you’re afraid that you’ll do something embarrassing.


PROBABLY NORMAL: You find it difficult to learn how to use new appliances or electronic devices.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You find it impossible to learn to use new appliances, and you even find it difficult to use the old ones.


PROBABLY NORMAL: Sometimes you struggle to find the word you were looking for.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
You often lose words and have to use substitutes or change the subject to avoid embarrassment.


PROBABLY NORMAL: You feel forgetful, but your family and friends don’t notice it.
SEE A DOCTOR: 
Your family and friends tell you that they are worried about your forgetfulness.

Find out how to improve your memory naturally with these five expert-approved strategies.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada