Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of Dementia; it is a brain disorder, which is irreversible, and until now, incurable. It is often associated with memory loss, as well as the loss of cognitive abilities. Its symptoms often develop slowly, but eventually get to the point when they interfere with daily life.
Although most people affected by this disease are over 65, Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. In some cases younger people might be affected by early onset Alzheimer's.
Just because a person has memory problems, does not mean they are suffering from Alzheimer's; sometimes the symptoms may be caused by medication, stress, depression, alcohol abuse, thyroid problems, etc. In cases like these, the memory problems can be reversed.
If you or someone you love are showing signs of memory loss, changes in behavior, or any symptom associated with Dementia, it is imperative to consult a neurologist. While there is no specific test to diagnose Alzheimer's, only a neurologist can determine if in fact an individual is suffering from it, through a series of evaluations, including:
• A comprehensive record of the patient's medical history
• Physical and neurological examinations
• Blood tests and brain scanning
• Mood and mental evaluation
A neurologist specializes in studying, diagnosing and treating neurological disorders, including all types of dementia. When it comes to Alzheimer's disease, early detection is important, because it will help you get the treatment needed to slow down the progression of the symptoms. Having the right neurologist as your partner through this difficult and painful journey, will also help you understand the disease, and you might even be able to enroll in a clinical trial.
Your family doctor can help you find the right neurologist. You can also contact the Alzheimer's Association for referrals at www.alz.org. Leeza's Care Connection can also provide an invaluable list of resources to help you deal with this disease.
When you visit the neurologist for the first time don't forget to bring a list of all medications, including over the counter and vitamins, your loved one is taking. You should also make a list of all medical concerns you have. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
I hope you find this information useful. Remember, you are not alone.
Edie J. Adler:
Eide J. is an actress, author and advocate for people suffering from Alzheimer's and their caregivers.
She lives with her husband Neal, their 6 dogs, 4 1/2 cats, 3 birds and an invisible turtle. Author's website Email the author