6 Things You Should Know About Alzheimer's Disease
1 Alzheimer’s disease is not a part of normal aging.
Everyone’s memory tends to slip occasionally as they age because everyone’s brains atrophy as we age. Alzheimer’s disease is typically diagnosed in people over the age of 65 but it can be diagnosed at any age. If someone is diagnosed before the age of 65, it is considered, “early onset”. Almost half of the people over the age of 85 have an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
2. Alzheimer’s disease is not an old person’s disease
If someone develops symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease before the age of 65, it is likely that they carry a gene associated with early onset Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD). A person with FAD may begin to experience symptoms as early as their 20s or 30s.
3. Alzheimer’s disease is more than memory loss
Alzheimer’s disease does cause a problem with memory but it also affects many other functions such as perception, speech, communication, behavior, judgement, movement
4. No 100 Percent Certain Diagnosis
There is not a test, or even a combination of diagnostic tools that can give a person a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease with 100% certainty. The only way to identify the disease is upon autopsy.
Most doctors can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease with about 90% certainty. It is important to have your doctor rule out other health concerns, so do not delay in seeing the doctor because early intervention, education and the right preparation can help someone with Alzheimer’s disease live a better quality of life.
5. While there are medications to treat symptoms, they won’t work for everyone and will not slow down the disease process.
A few years ago, some of the pharmaceutical companies were ordered by the FDA to change their marketing practices because their practices lead many patients to believe that their medications could slow the Alzheimer’s disease process if they took their medication. Knowing that the medications on the market now may only help to temporarily alleviate certain symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, you must weigh the benefits and risks. Some of the medications used to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms cause unpleasant side effects.
6. Get Tested and Diagnosed As Soon Possible
It is important to get an early and accurate diagnosis to rule out other health conditions or illness that may mimic or contribute to symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. There are many conditions and illness that cause similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s disease that are treatable and reversible. If someone has unmanaged blood sugar and blood pressure for example, they may have increased confusion and other cognitive difficulties.
7. Alzheimer’s disease is fatal
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it may cause problems with appetite and swallowing, an increase in falls, immobility, and a decrease in safety awareness which can contribute to risk of death. No one survives Alzheimer’s disease.