Alzheimer’s Disease & Its Effects on Your Loved Ones
The most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. Although similar and often confused for one another, Alzheimer’s and dementia are different diseases with varying effects on those affected patients.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
As defined by the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior; a type of dementia.” A more general term, dementia describes a severe level of memory loss that interferes with daily life; it may also interrupt or decline other cognitive abilities. The most well-known risk factor is increasing age, but this disease isn’t considered “normal” for those of an older age. In fact, around 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
How is Alzheimer’s treated or cured?
Alzheimer’s worsens over time leading to dementia symptoms that gradually worsen over time as well. First, a patient may experience mild memory loss in the early onset, but later stages of the disease mean patients can no longer carry on a conversation or adequately respond to their environment. Currently, there is no cure, but treatments for symptoms are available. Researchers continue to discover helpful treatments to slow the worsening of dementia symptoms as a part of an effort to find an all-out cure.
What are the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s?
Knowing the signs can help you or a loved one receive the care needed earlier. For more information on each of these signs, click here:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time of place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things & losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood & personality
How can I approach a loved one about their potential Alzheimer’s diagnosis?
As scary as it may be to address, it’s important to voice your concerns to the affected person to make sure they seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Follow these quick guidelines as recommended by the Alzheimer’s Association:
- Assess the Situation. Are they experiencing changes in memory or thinking? Has anyone else noticed these changes?
- Start a conversation. Make sure to plan your approach about this conversation & find other participants to discuss these concerns with you.
- Reach out for help. If you want to learn how to appropriately reach out for help, click here.