Alzheimer’s is defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as “a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment”. Even with over 6.2 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, there are still quite a few people who do not know much about the brain disorder.
November is typically celebrated as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. The goal is this month is for several organizations across the county is to band together in order to raise awareness about the disorder. This blog post will summarize some of the key points about the disorder.
What are some of the signs of Alzheimer’s?
The Alzheimer’s Association listed 10 warning signs of developing Alzheimer’s:
- 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 spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or 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
Some of these signs can easily be mistaken for just getting older. When you feel uncertain or scared to talk about these changes, that’s okay it's very common. It's also very important to let someone know about these changes like your family or your doctor as these can be significant health concerns that should be addressed right away.
What are some of the treatment options for Alzheimer’s?
Since Alzheimer’s can become a complex disorder to treat, it is unlikely that one singular drug will successfully cure a person of it completely. Even though this reality exists, there are still many clinically proven to be safe and effective treatment methods to help someone suffering from Alzheimer’s living a happy and independent life.
The medications prescribed during treatment usually have the goal to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine which is a brain chemical that is critical for memory and thinking. As Alzheimer’s progresses, less and less acetylcholine is produced causing damage to the brain, so those medications may eventually lose their effectiveness. Different medications could be prescribed over the course of the disorder due to this.
To assist in treating the cognitive decline over time, some practitioners may recommend guidance for the family or friends to follow for their loved ones. Being patient, talking with the person, and engaging them in family activities are all examples of helping to keep that person’s mind as strong as possible.
What are some resources out there for me to learn more about?*
- Learn more about diagnosing Alzheimer’s
- Doctor’s appointment checklist (PDF)
- 10 warning signs worksheet
- Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters (free online course)
- 10 steps to approach memory concerns (PDF)
- Why get checked
*All resources appeared on the Alzheimer’s Association website
Cross Valley Health & Medicine is a primary care practice located in Newburgh NY, allowing for both virtual and in-person appointments. The practice has two medical providers on staff, Doctor Paul Saladino who is dual board-certified in Addiction Medicine and Internal Medicine, and a Christian Plaza who is a family nurse practitioner. Both practitioners are eager to see new patients for the following programs: Addiction Medicine, Behavioral Health Management, HIV/AIDS Care Management, Internal Medicine, Medical Marijuana Certifications, Medication-Assisted Treatment, STD/STI Care Management, and Weight Loss Management. If you are interested in becoming a patient of Cross Valley, please click here to access our online paperwork portal. Visit us online at www.crossvalleyhealth.com or give our office a call at 845-561-7075.