Things you Should Know About Alzheimer's Disease – The Village Doctor

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Things you Should Know About Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common form of Dementia. There are an estimated 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States each year. 
Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops Dementia.

Defining Dementia

The term Dementia is used to define brain diseases related to memory loss and diminished cognitive skills. Some common types of Dementia include:

  • Vascular Dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies
  • Mixed Dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Huntington’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of brain disease, just as Coronary Artery Disease is a type of Heart Disease. It is also a progressive disease, meaning that it becomes worse with time. 

Women are at Higher Risk

Almost twice as many women have AD as men, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. AD also worsens faster in women than in men.
Brain shrinkage tends to be more severe in women with AD than in men with the disease.

Early Signs and Symptoms

  • Difficulty remembering things that just happened. 
  • Inability to plan or solve problems
  • Losing track of dates, seasons and time
  • Misplacing things  
  • Mood and personality changes  
  • Poor decision-making
  • Struggling with conversations  
  • Trouble completing familiar tasks

How Doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s:

  • Asking the person and a family member or friend questions about overall health
  • Conducting tests of memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language
  • Carrying out standard medical tests, such as blood and urine tests, to identify other possible causes of the problem
  • Performing brain scans, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography (PET), to rule out other possible causes.

We can also help diagnose other causes of memory problems, such as stroke, tumor, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disturbances, drug side effects, an infection, mild cognitive impairment, or non-Alzheimer’s dementia, including vascular dementia. Some of these secondary conditions can be treatable and possibly reversible.
Early, accurate diagnosis is beneficial for several reasons. Beginning treatment early in the disease process may help preserve daily functioning for some time, even though the underlying Alzheimer’s process cannot be stopped or reversed.
There is no single timeline for disease progression, and your loved one may have many satisfying years ahead of them. Do what you can to ease the symptoms, to prolong their independence and dignity!