Every 65 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease. There is no treatment or cure for the clinical progression of the disease. Current treatments temporarily improve symptoms of the disease.
As the sixth leading cause of death, 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Which is why it is important to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease every day, but especially on September 21, World Alzheimer’s Day.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a group of symptoms.
SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges 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
- Misplacement of things and loss in the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood or personality
To diagnose Alzheimer’s, doctors evaluate your signs and symptoms and conduct several tests.
An accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia is an important first step to ensure you have appropriate treatment, care, family education, and plans for the future.
The Center on Aging at UConn Health is a multidisciplinary clinic that provides primary as well as consultative care. The team of board-certified geriatricians, geriatric psychiatrists, and neuropsychologists provide comprehensive, individualized care for aging adults.
Dr. Yazeed Maghaydah, geriatric specialist and co-director at the UConn Center on Aging, says: “When a patient has Alzheimer’s the providers at the UConn Center on Aging treat for all areas of health including blood pressure regulation, medication, inflammation, hormones, behavior, and their caregiver.”
The James E. C. Walker M.D. Memory Assessment Program at the UConn Center on Aging provides a full range of services for patients who are concerned about memory-related difficulties and for those who have already been diagnosed with a memory disorder. The goal is to provide the patient and their family with a state-of-the-art tailored assessment, which, when indicated, will be the basis for high-quality care and education.
The memory program provides a complete evaluation to determine the cause of and treatment for memory loss.
In addition, they can help facilitate decisions regarding:
- Safety issues, including driving
- Optimal support services and living arrangements
- Surrogate decision-making, living wills, and need for a conservator
- Family support and counseling
According to Maghaydah, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help protect yourself from the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Good brain health and the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease can be helped by following many of the same recommendations that promote a healthy heart, such as eating a heart-healthy diet, not smoking, keeping high blood pressure and cholesterol under control, and physical exercise. Exercising your brain and remaining socially engaged can also promote good brain health and decrease your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease when you are older,” says Maghaydah.
Riqiang Yan, Ph.D., chair of neuroscience at UConn School of Medicine also adds that stress reduction, proper sleep, management of diabetes, and vascular health are also important steps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
If you are concerned about memory loss, the UConn Center on Aging can be reached at 860-679-8400.