November has been recognized as Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month since 1983. With millions of Americans dealing with Alzheimer’s, it’s now more important than ever to shed light on this disease. Dr. Joe Gorz at Neighborhood Primary Care can help you learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, the warning signs and what to do if this condition is affecting a loved one.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. This progressive degenerative disease destroys the brain’s nerve cells, resulting in loss of memory and thinking, as well as changes in behavior.
What are the early warning signs?
Alzheimer’s most often affects older adults who are over the age of 65. Those who have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease are at an increased risk. Early warning signs may be subtle at first but will become more prominent over time. Symptoms include,
- Memory loss
- Disorientation (not knowing where you are or not recognizing familiar faces)
- Trouble with everyday tasks (e.g. forgetting how to use the stove)
- Issues with judgment, reasoning and problem solving
- Personality changes and mood swings
- A decline in personal hygiene
- Isolation and avoiding social engagements
During the first stage, symptoms are usually not present. It isn’t until stage two that forgetfulness may become apparent. Even then, symptoms may be so subtle that patients may not seek out a medical evaluation until symptoms become more significant and start affecting a person’s daily routine.
If a loved one is displaying symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease it’s important you turn to us for an evaluation.
Is there a way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
There are no lifestyle modifications or healthy habits that can completely ensure that you will never develop Alzheimer’s; however, a healthy lifestyle can certainly support a healthy brain. These habits include,
- Quitting smoking
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Enjoying social interactions and connections
- Performing certain brain exercises to improve memory, thinking and functioning
Is there a cure?
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease; however, there are treatment options out there that can slow the progression of the disease. We are hopeful that eventually there will be a cure. Common medications such as Aricept, which help the brain maintain healthy levels of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter that is destroyed by the disease), may be prescribed to those with varying stages of Alzheimer’s (from early to more advanced).
Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just affect the person with the disease, it also affects those around them. If someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, turn to our compassionate, caring medical team to get the advice, support and care you need.
The information is provided to you by Dr. Joe Gorz at Neighborhood Primary Care.