Alzheimer’s — early de­tec­tion makes a dif­fer­ence

Record Observer - - Senior Satellite -

(BPT) — It’s the sixth-lead­ing cause of death in the United States, af­fects more than 5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans and one out of ev­ery three se­niors will die from it. Yet mis­con­cep­tions sur­round Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

Con­trary to what many peo­ple think about Alzheimer’s, it’s not a nor­mal part of grow­ing older. And while there’s not yet a way to pre­vent, cure or even slow the pro­gres­sion of the dis­ease, peo­ple with Alzheimer’s can ben­e­fit from de­tect­ing it early.

“Misun­der­stand­ing cru­cial facts about the dis­ease can have con­se­quences that can lead to stigma, de­layed med­i­cal at­ten­tion and in­ad­e­quate sup­port for care­givers,” said Ruth Drew, di­rec­tor of fam­ily and in­for­ma­tion ser­vices, Alzheimer’s As­so­ci­a­tion. “Greater un­der­stand­ing of Alzheimer’s is ur­gently needed given the dra­matic im­pact of the dis­ease. It dev­as­tates too many fam­i­lies for it to re­main a mys­tery. We need ev­ery­one to know the truth about Alzheimer’s so we can bridge cur­rent gaps and build greater sup­port to­ward ad­vanc­ing treat­ments and find­ing a cure.” De­bunk­ing com­mon myths Alzheimer’s is most of­ten as­so­ci­ated with mem­ory loss, but the truth is the dis­ease can ap­pear through a va­ri­ety of signs and symp­toms. A pro­gres­sive and fa­tal dis­ease, Alzheimer’s at­tacks the brain, killing nerve cells and brain tis­sue, which af­fects a per­son’s abil­ity to re­mem­ber, think and plan.

While the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who have Alzheimer’s are se­niors, it can also af­fect peo­ple in their 30s, 40s and 50s — a form of the dis­ease known as younger-on­set Alzheimer’s. About 5 per­cent of peo­ple with the dis­ease have younger-on­set Alzheimer’s. Ev­ery­one is, tech­ni­cally, at risk of de­vel­op­ing Alzheimer’s, but cer­tain groups have el­e­vated risks; African-Amer­i­cans are twice as likely as whites and His­pan­ics one and a half times as likely to de­velop Alzheimer’s. Nearly two-thirds of all peo­ple who have Alzheimer’s are women. Em­pow­er­ing in­for­ma­tion Ev­ery 66 sec­onds, some­one in the U.S. de­vel­ops Alzheimer’s, ac­cord­ing to the Alzheimer’s As­so­ci­a­tion. De­tect­ing the dis­ease early may help the per­son with Alzheimer’s, care­givers and loved ones in mul­ti­ple ways.

Peo­ple who re­ceive an early di­ag­no­sis may have more time to ex­plore treat­ments that could help re­lieve some symp­toms, and help them stay in­de­pen­dent longer. They may be able to par­tic­i­pate in a clin­i­cal drug trial to help ad­vance Alzheimer’s re­search. Re­sources such as Alzheimer’s As­so­ci­a­tion Tri­alMatch can help you find cur­rent stud­ies.

De­tect­ing Alzheimer’s early can also give peo­ple with the dis­ease, their care­givers and loved ones more time to plan for the fu­ture. If you are di­ag­nosed in the early stages of the dis­ease, you may be able to par­tic­i­pate in de­ci­sions about your care, liv­ing ar­range­ments, and fi­nan­cial and le­gal mat­ters.

Only a doc­tor can ac­cu­rately di­ag­nose Alzheimer’s dis­ease, but the Alzheimer’s As­so­ci­a­tion has de­vel­oped 10 warn­ing signs and symp­toms that may help you de­cide it’s time to con­sult a physi­cian, in­clud­ing:

* Mem­ory loss that dis­rupts daily life.

* Chal­lenges in plan­ning and solv­ing prob­lems.

* Dif­fi­culty com­plet­ing fa­mil­iar tasks.

* Con­fu­sion over time or place.

* Trou­ble un­der­stand­ing vis­ual im­ages or spa­tial re­la­tion­ships.

* New prob­lems with spo­ken or writ­ten words.

* Mis­plac­ing things and not be­ing able to find them by re­trac­ing your move­ments.

* De­creased or poor judg­ment.

* With­drawal from oth­ers at work or in so­cial sit­u­a­tions.

* Changes in mood or per­son­al­ity.

“If a per­son is hav­ing trou­ble do­ing some­thing that they rou­tinely did for years or they demon­strate a sig­nif­i­cant shift in per­son­al­ity that lasts over time — those are warn­ing signs that need to be ex­plored,” Drew says. “Too of­ten peo­ple dis­miss these changes as stress or hav­ing too much to do, but when they per­sist over time, it’s best to get it checked out. Ig­nor­ing the sit­u­a­tion is the worst way of han­dling it.”

To learn more about Alzheimer’s dis­ease and to find re­sources for care­givers, fam­i­lies and peo­ple liv­ing with the dis­ease, visit www.alz.org, the web­site of the Alzheimer’s As­so­ci­a­tion.

Se­nior cen­ter hosts Quilt Camp

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Sudlersville Se­nior Cen­ter hosted Quilt Camp ear­lier this month. Vol­un­teers at the cen­ter taught stu­dents how to make their very own quilts.

BPT

De­tect­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease early may help the per­son with Alzheimer’s, care­givers and loved ones in mul­ti­ple ways.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.