Blaire House of Worcester
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Brandon Woods of New Bedford
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New Bedford, MA
How Do You Know Whether Someone You Love Has Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease afflicts millions of adults. Though there have been no significant breakthroughs to determine its causes, various fields of medicine have made strides in the recognition and treatment of this debilitating illness which affects neurological functioning and leads to severe dementia.
The Alzheimer’s patient undergoes a personality change marked by impairments in speech, memory, learning ability, and physical functioning. The patient is unable to manage tasks that before were routine. Cognitive skills, such as judging and decision making, are no longer possible. Often, the patient is given to aimless wandering and must be constantly monitored.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are sometimes common to other illnesses. Strokes, drug interactions, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid problems, and clinical depression are some of the other disorders which produce symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s. It is therefore extremely important that the patient suspected of having Alzheimer’s be given a thorough examination. This includes:
- A workup of the patient’s entire medical history, including nutritional habits and any drugs previously prescribed, as these can sometimes produce symptoms weeks or even years after the fact.
- X-rays of the brain (CAT scans) to rule out tumors or other unrelated problems.
- Electroencephalogram testing to monitor brainwave patterns.
- Neuropsychological tests to determine physiological and emotional status.
- Blood and urine testing, along with any other tests specific to the patient’s history.
Once thorough testing is complete, your doctor can help you decide which course to take if the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s disease. Social Service agencies, hotlines, and state and federal organizations are further resources. Although the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are generally the same from patient to patient, the situation of each family affected is different. Check all of your options to help you determine the best possible care for your loved one.
Families trying to deal with the disease’s devastating effects are subject not only to the trauma of the loved one’s symptoms, but their own helplessness, lack of knowledge, and frustration. Discouragement, and the very human responses of guilt and anger, can often lead to despair.
If you and your family are bearing the burden of Alzheimer’s disease in a loved one, there is much we can offer you. Our staff is dedicated to providing the best possible care for patients and their families. Contact us today for more information.