The Subjective Memory Complaints in Primary Health Care: A Follow-up Study

Mónica Sousa, Anabela Pereira, Rui Costa, Pedro Gomes


Objective: The subjective memory complaints (QSM) are an important clinical factor and a frequent problem in primary health care in adult and older people (Eichler et al., 2015). This study, carried out in a primary health care of the Central Region of Portugal, aimed to characterize the QSM according to sociodemographic, clinical, cognitive, emotional and quality of life variables. Methods: This longitudinal study at two time points aims to explore the process of the QSM for 18 months and which factors are associated with. It was conducted with a sample of 19 adults and older adults aged between 55 to 81 years (79.2% female). The data was collected by semi-structured interviews and whenever possible the medical records were consulted. It was used as measuring instruments the Portuguese version of the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), the Memory Complaint Scale (EQM), the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), the Anxiety Inventory Geriatrics (GAI) or the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment (WHOQOL-Bref) and a sociodemographic clinical questionnaire developed for this purpose. Results: In the second assessment moment all participants had QSM, which are significantly more influenced by age. It was also observed an increase in depressive symptoms and anxiety, the amounts of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and the number of medications, with particular emphasis on anti-hypertensives. Conclusion: The QSM should be a matter of concern and vigilance from the family doctor, as this may be an important symptom for the early identification of individuals at higher risk for developing a dementing process.


primary health care; adults; older adults; subjective memory complains; depression; anxiety