NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Part of a good health and wellness routine includes getting a memory screening done.

According to a news release, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is reminding folks of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and to prioritize their brain health.

AFA offers free memory screenings through secure videoconference technology on weekdays during the National Memory Screening Program, and there are no minimum age or insurance prerequisites.

“Annual screenings are important, including for our brains, which is why everyone should make getting a memory screening a priority during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and throughout the year,” said AFA’s President and CEO Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. “Just as we regularly check other facets of our health, we should all get a checkup from the neck up, regardless of whether or not we are having memory problems.”

People who are interested can learn more and request a screening appointment here or by calling (866) 232-8484.

“You are never too young or too old to get a memory screening and be more proactive about your brain health,” said the Director of AFA’s National Memory Screening Program Donna de Levante Raphael. “Many people don’t think about their cognitive health when they get their regular medical checkups. If you are 65 years or older, a memory screening is a part of your Medicare Annual Wellness Visit. It is very important to make sure you keep your mind sharp, and there are many ways to do that in order to combat cognitive decline. I always remind people that the first step is to get a screening to see if there might be any memory issues. It is better to know early rather than later.”

Currently, Alzheimer’s disease affects over 6.2 million people, and it’s estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the number will more than double by 2060.

These screenings are an important first step in the early detection of memory issues.

They take a few minutes and are noninvasive, as they are a series of questions to gauge memory, language, thinking skills, and other intellectual functions.

The results are not a diagnosis of any condition, but they can suggest if someone should see a physician for a full evaluation.

People who may experience memory loss or cognitive decline may be hesitant, embarrassed, or in denial about asking for help, but early detection is crucial.

Early detection gives greater chances of starting medication sooner to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, participate in trials, be part of therapeutic programming, and have a role in developing care, health, legal, and financial plans.

Not all memory issues are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, but vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, urinary tract infections, sleep apnea, and depression are conditions that cause memory impairments and are treatable or curable.