Alzheimer’s Disease: Early Diagnosis is Important

Posted on January 7, 2013

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Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive brain disorder that usually appears after age 65 but can begin in the 30s or 40s. The disease causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior that are serious enough to interfere with everyday life.

Dementia slowly robs us of our memories.

Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but sometimes it can be slowed down.

This disease is one that affects the whole family and BrightStar works with specialists and the Alzheimer’s Association to educate families on how to care for a loved one.  For January events here, events later in the year will be referenced on our calendar: here.

As their capabilities decline, people with Alzheimer’s become dependent on others for all their care. In the final stages, they lose the ability to respond to their environment, to speak, and, ultimately, control movement.

If you notice possible symptoms in a friend or family member, it’s critical to act fast and get them to their doctor for evaluation. Although there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, new information is leading to earlier detection and more definitive diagnoses. And advances in medication therapy may stabilize or delay the progress of symptoms.

Early evaluation also can help rule out other disorders that may mimic Alzheimer’s in their symptoms, such as stroke, brain tumor, thyroid problems and substance abuse.

Factors that can prevent people from seeking a diagnosis range from denial or impairment to complete unawareness of symptoms. People who live alone are especially likely to delay or avoid seeing their physician. Because some people with Alzheimer’s don’t realize they have a problem, it may be up to a family member or friend to help them make and keep a doctor’s appointment.

The Alzheimer’s Association has developed a checklist of common Alzheimer’s warning signs. Consult with your doctor if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one.

  • Difficulty with familiar tasks, such as cooking meals.
  • Persistent trouble with language, such as forgetting simple words.
  • Forgetting where you are or what day or time it is on a regular basis.
  • Difficulty making decisions or judgments that once came easily.
  • Problems with abstract thinking, such as doing basic arithmetic.
  • Abrupt changes in personality, mood or behavior.
  • Increasing apathy and loss of initiative.
  • Becoming extremely confused, suspicious or fearful for no clear reason.
  • Misplacing things in unusual ways. Anyone might leave their car keys on their desk, but a person with Alzheimer’s might put them in the freezer.

In home caregivers can give the family some time off and provide some mental stimulation for the patient.  There are many ways to challenge and provide positive experiences for those with this disease.  Call us in Houston for ideas or a free in-home assessment at  832-730-1255.

If there is a veteran or veteran’s spouse needing care please call us for information or see the veteran’s information to the right.

 

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