November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
Alzheimer’s Disease: Signs, Symptoms, Stages and Treatment Options
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, which is a broad term for conditions that negatively affect memory, thinking and behavior. From understanding the stages of Alzheimer’s disease to considering treatment options, here’s what you may want to know about this disease.
Most people are diagnosed with the disease after age 65, notes Healthline. A lot of times, people associate Alzheimer’s disease with forgetfulness but this disease goes beyond that. People with Alzheimer’s disease have certain behaviors and symptoms that can worsen over time. Healthline shares what these symptoms are:
- Memory loss that affects daily and routine activities.
- Struggles with problem-solving.
- Issues with writing or speech.
- Becoming confused about times or places.
- Impaired judgment.
- Decreased personal hygiene.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. This means the symptoms will gradually increase over time. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you have a support team of doctors, loved ones and caregivers to help you manage the changes. Healthline describes the seven main stages:
- Stages 1–3: Pre-dementia and mild cognitive impairment
- Stages 4–7: Dementia
There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease but your doctor might prescribe medication that could ease your symptoms or delay the progression of the disease. In addition to medication, you can create new strategies to help manage the condition. According to Healthline, your doctor might suggest you:
- Simplify tasks to limit confusion.
- Get eight hours of sleep each night.
- Explore relaxation or mindfulness techniques.
- Spend time in calming, soothing environments.
Maintaining your comfort and quality of life through every stage of the disease is important. It is suggested there are other specialists to add to your care team. For example, you might see a physical therapist to help you stay active or a nutritionist to teach you how to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. A pharmacist can help monitor medications, a social worker can unlock resources and support and a mental health professional can work with you one-on-one to discuss changes you’re going through.
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is life-altering. It is vital to get all the mental, emotional and physical support you can get. Call the Alzheimer's Association Helpline at 800-272-3900, a free, 24/7 resource for patients and caregivers who have questions about the disease and want to get connected to resources.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, read here.
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