It is natural to be fearful of an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. For this reason, many individuals avoid going to see a doctor for Alzheimer’s disease assessments, even when they have complaints about how their memory is functioning.
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 older adults fear a loss of mental faculties. But there are many reasons to get tested. Ignorance carries hazards and information is helpful.
5 Reasons to See a Doctor if You Suspect Alzheimer’s Disease:
- It might look like Alzheimer’s but not be Alzheimer’s. The best reason to seek a doctor’s opinion is you may have another condition that is curable. Treatable conditions like depression, vitamin deficiency, urinary tract infections, and thyroid imbalance can mimic the symptoms of dementia.
- 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 symptoms start, damage to the brain can’t be undone.
- Scientists are working on new diagnostic tests. A study done at Johns Hopkins University discovered a 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.
- New treatment discoveries. Scientists are now focusing their efforts on developing drugs that actually stop or slow down the disease process. Learn about the latest research here.
- Early detection buys time. It means the diagnosed patient can take an active role in planning for his or her future. Decisions surrounding health care, where to live, and financial affairs are essential. 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.
Connect with a Support System
There are many sources of information and support. Connecting with a trusted healthcare professional, friend, and mental health professional is a path to developing a healthy support system. If you want to do some research on your own about what you will need if you or someone you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, an excellent place to start is the Alzheimer’s Association website.
Being a 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.
Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.