Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the USA, with 5.7 million Americans living with the condition according to the latest Alzheimer’s Association research. Early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is critical to managing the health of a patient and could save up to $7.9 trillion in medical care and costs.
So, how is this disease diagnosed? Here are some insights from the assisted living team in Camden County, NJ.
6 Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
The first step in reaching an accurate diagnosis is for seniors and their families to be aware of the early symptoms of the condition, and to approach their medical practitioner with their concerns if the following is noticed:
- Difficulty remembering events.
- Social withdrawal, changes in mood and depression.
- Visual or spatial difficulties, misplacing items, and difficulty driving.
- Confusion regarding where they are, why they are in a specific location, or the passage of time.
- Difficulty finding the correct word or phrase to express themselves.
- Inability or difficulty in finishing daily tasks, solving problems, or making plans.
How Doctors Reach a Diagnosis for Alzheimer’s Disease
This is a fairly complex process, as the doctor has to work through various tests and data to ensure an accurate diagnosis. This is because these symptoms may be the result of other medical conditions.
A doctor, neurologist or geriatrician will evaluate the patient’s:
- Medical history, medication history and the symptoms being experienced. This is especially important if there is a family history of Alzheimer’s or dementia conditions.
- Mood and personality changes, if any.
- Memory and thinking abilities.
- Difficulties in daily life and routines, if any.
- Causes of the symptoms to see if they are linked to other conditions, medication interactions and other issues.
The doctor may then order tests to rule out other conditions or health issues, brain-imaging tests or even memory testing. A physical health examination will also be performed.
It’s understandable that people are reluctant to see their doctor if they experience worrying symptoms, but in reality, an early diagnosis gives you the best chance to manage your condition. It is also important to rule out other health conditions with similar symptoms, many of which are very treatable (including vitamin B-12 deficiencies and thyroid disorders) to ensure you get the right treatment.
Scalable Assisted Living in a Caring, Independent Assisted Living Community
Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in independent living for seniors. With an experienced care and assistance team, scalable services customized to each resident’s needs, and a lively social calendar, we focus on delivering essential resources to promote independence and quality of life.
To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, please visit our website at http://collingswood.umcommunities.org/ or contact us and book your visit today.
Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/how-is-alzheimers-disease-diagnosed/