Why is it important to get checked for Alzheimer’s Disease? How is it Diagnosed?
November is Alzheimer’s Disease Month, which is why you need to know the importance of getting checked early for this disease and know how it is diagnosed.
If you see the ten (10) early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s in someone you know, it is encouraged to set up an appointment for your loved one to be evaluated. The ten signs include:
Memory loss that disrupts daily life
Challenges in planning or solving problems
Difficulty completing familiar tasks
Confusion with time or place
Trouble understanding visual images and special relationships
New problems with words in speaking and writing
Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
Decreased or poor judgment
Withdrawal from work or social activities
Changes in mood and personality
If Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed early enough, you will have:
access to treatment options that will help prevent or reverse the symptoms;
emotional and social benefits that will help lessen anxiety;
more time to plan for the future
As medicine advances, physicians have many different ways to diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease in your loved one. Evaluations include reflections of family and personal medical history; completion of mental tests; completion of physical and neurological exams; and even conduction of brain imaging.
Let’s go more in-depth on how these tests to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease work:
Medical history: Physicians will review psychiatric and cognitive history and changes in behavior. They will also review previous illnesses and medications that could have a similar side effect.
Physical exams and diagnostic tests: In this process, the physician will ask about your diet, review medications, check blood pressure/temperature/pulse, listen to heart and lungs, and collect samples of blood and urine.
Neurological exams: Physicians will test reflexes, coordination and muscle tone, eye movement, speech, and sensation
Mental Status Tests: The tests evaluate memory and ability to solve simple problems. This includes knowing the date and time, knowing where the individual is, remembering a short list of words, and following instructions
Brain imaging: An MRI or CT scan is taken to evaluate the physical condition of the brain. This way, physicians can compare a healthy brain to the individual’s brain.
After being diagnosed, there are many resources that can help to find and gain support. The Alzheimer’s Association has many resources that can be taken advantage of:
Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 helpline: 1.800.272.3900;
Their online community allows for conversations among other families who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease, too;
www.alz.org has many other factual information about this disease, which will help educate about many parts of the disease.
Plan for your future: Information about legal planning, financial planning, and building a care team can be found at this link: https://www.alz.org/help-support/i-have-alz/plan-for-your-future
At Christ the King Manor, we are proud members and supporters of the Alzheimer’s Association. This organization helps provide funding for services, research, and support for individuals with or families of individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. We are very passionate about supporting their cause as we have a memory support unit in our Personal Care facility and Skilled Nursing Care Facility.
For information about what we offer in our memory support units, check out our website: www.ctkmanor.org
Author: Dominique Martino
Title: Director of Marketing and Communications