The Importance of an Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

As research on dementia, and its most common sub-type, Alzheimer’s Disease, increases, we are learning about the significance of a timely diagnosis. Sometimes, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can be delayed by several years. Because the disease progresses very slowly, noticing symptoms can be hard because they creep up on you. It is a lot easier to recognize symptoms of an acute illness, because the symptoms come so suddenly. This is not the case with degenerative neurological diseases. Early diagnosis can provide a variety of crucial benefits for the well-being of your loved one.

In a WebMD poll in 2007, it was found that many caregivers did not readily recognize symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease partly because they assumed that certain symptoms were a normal part of aging. For instance, forgetfulness can often be a sign of old age, but it can also be a sign of Alzheimer’s. There is a difference between forgetting sometimes, and forgetting constantly. So, if you suspect that certain behaviors in your loved one are unusual, it may be beneficial to see a doctor just to be on the safe side. Many times, people who have mild forgetfulness are found not to have Alzheimer’s, but it is a wise idea to check. Another part of a delayed diagnosis can be the stigma that surrounds diseases like Alzheimer’s. It is important to remember that an early diagnosis can result in huge differences in the overall process for your loved one.  

The common warning signs for Alzheimer’s include:

  • An increased prevalence of forgetfulness, like names of objects or people
  • Repeating questions
  • Getting lost often
  • Losing things often
  • Confusing places, people, and times
  • A decreased capacity to do everyday tasks

Another thing to remember is that having any of these symptoms does not necessarily need to cause alarm or stress. As stated before, many times there will be no need to worry. However, it is always wise to be proactive.

Benefits of Early Diagnosis

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s early will help better prepare you and your loved one for times ahead. Knowing early can help you and your loved one access resources more quickly and learn about treatments if necessary. For example, the earlier you know that your loved one has a degenerative neurological disease, you can find the necessary counseling programs to help you prepare for your responsibilities as a family caregiver. Additionally, an early diagnosis can slow the progression of the disease, preserving more years of an increased quality of life in your loved one. Lastly, an early diagnosis can help you, your surrounding family, and any other related parties to prepare for the future, like when it comes to organizing finances or assigning responsibilities.

If you are interested in learning more about degenerative neurological diseases, or if you have any other questions, please give ElderCare at Home a call at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!

[1] Source: https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20070314/alzheimers-diagnosis-often-delayed#1

 

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