Is blissful ignorance better than a diagnosis?

Alzheimer’s Disease Testing: What’s the Point?

Is blissful ignorance better than a diagnosis?I was chatting with a friend in his late 60s. He was complaining about his memory and how his wife keeps telling him to see the doctor and get checked for Alzheimer’s disease.

“What’s the point in getting tested?” he said. “There’s no cure. Why should I go looking for bad news if the doctors can’t fix it anyway?”

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are frightening diseases for aging adults. All it takes is a few memory slips, a lost set of keys or a forgotten appointment and we’re filled with the terror of losing our mental faculties.

So, is my friend right to reject testing? Is blissful ignorance really better than being informed? I looked into the latest work being done on the disease and learned some encouraging news.

5 Reasons You Should See a Doctor if You Suspect Alzheimer’s:

  1. It might look like Alzheimer’s but not be Alzheimer’s. The best reason to see the doctor and get tested is that you may actually have something else. Treatable conditions like depression, vitamin deficiency, urinary tract infections, and thyroid imbalance can mimic the symptoms of dementia.
  2. Early detection DOES make a difference.  True, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. But if doctors can administer treatment early on, before symptoms emerge, it could delay or stop the disease from getting worse. At the very least, it may relieve some of the symptoms and let the patient be independent longer. On the other hand, if you wait until after the symptoms have started, the damage to the brain can’t be undone.
  3. New diagnostic tests are being discovered. A study done last year at Johns Hopkins University discovered a new testing method that could diagnose Alzheimer’s as early as five years before symptoms start. Experts say Alzheimer’s actually begins to develop in the brain 10 years or more before there are outward signs. So an effective early detection test would allow patients to get treatment much sooner and slow the progress of the disease.
  4. New treatments are being discovered. There are currently 5 approved drugs on the market that relieve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists are now focusing their efforts on developing drugs that actually stop or slow down the disease process. Learn about the latest research here.
  5. Early detection buys time. It means the diagnosed patient can take an active role in planning for his or her future — decisions like health care, where to live, financial affairs etc. This gives them real control over their lives and is a big help to family members who won’t have to guess what their loved one wants later on. It gives everyone a chance to adjust to the diagnosis and make plans.

In my research, I came across many other sources of information and support. An excellent place to start is the Alzheimer’s Association website.

Need Help for YOU?

Being caregiver to someone suffering from Alzheimer’s is stressful. If you need a personal confidant to talk to about that or any other issue in your life, contact me for a private online consultation.

Share This:

New Client Special Offer

Try an introductory session with me for only $49. For 30 minutes we’ll get to know each other & you’ll learn why my clients keep coming back!

Schedule Now!

Click to Submit a Guest Post

Join Our Newsletter Today and get our FREE eBook, 15 Activities to Improve Your Life

Help is as Close as your Phone
Are you feeling “uneasy” about a situation in your life? Kendall Van Blarcom provides caring and compassion as your personal confidant, helping you overcome the obstacles standing in the way of your peace and joy. Sessions are conducted via a secure landline. Call for an appointment today.

Van Blarcom Consulting Mission Statement

To provide improved mental health support for seniors, education, and motivation to individuals having difficulty with life’s challenges, and to empower them to turn their life around so they can improve it with positive changes that will greatly influence their thoughts, feelings, and actions for the rest of their life.

Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)


Please note: I do not offer the services of a virtual counselor, therapist or geriatric psychologist. Online personal consulting is not intended to take the place of traditional face-to-face therapy, clinical assessment or treatment.

Now accepting Guest Blog Submissions here.