Symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia


Filed under Health & Wellness

(ARA) – More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and, by 2050, approximately 16 million will have the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia and gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities. People with the disease experience difficulties in memory severe enough to have an impact on their work, social activities and family life. While there is no cure for AD, early diagnosis and treatment with approved medications can help slow symptom progression.

A new online survey of 1,040 adults age 55 and over titled, “Alzheimer’s Disease: Current Attitudes, Perceptions and Knowledge,” shows that despite overwhelming support for early AD screening and detection, there are striking differences between intentions and behavior. Nearly 95 percent agree that they would encourage a loved one to seek early diagnosis upon suspecting signs of AD, but of the 34 percent who previously thought a loved one had the disease, only about one-quarter prompted that person to take an AD screener and less than 40 percent encouraged initiating a conversation with his or her doctor.

This survey was commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Disease Screening Discussion Group (ADSDG), a consortium of multi-disciplinary experts. The survey and ADSDG were sponsored by Eisai Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

“About half of AD patients in the U.S. are diagnosed and of those, only half receive treatment. To help patients and their loved ones better manage this disease, we need to increase diagnoses,” says Dr. Richard Stefanacci, founding executive director, Geriatric Health Program, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, survey co-chair and a member of the AD Screening Discussion Group. “One way to do this is to educate and motivate those closest to the patients to take action by seeing a doctor as soon as symptoms are suspected,” advises Dr. Stefanacci.

The survey also shows that although AD impacts most Americans age 55 and over, the majority have little knowledge of the disease and are confused about its symptoms. In fact, although 78 percent say they could notice signs of AD in themselves or a loved one, more than 90 percent could not distinguish early disease symptoms from late disease symptoms or symptoms unrelated to AD.

“These results are troubling because AD symptoms are typically detected by a close friend or relative, and without the ability to do so, patients don’t get diagnosed until symptoms are far along. Not only can early treatment slow the progression of disease symptoms, but an early diagnosis also gives the patient and their loved ones more time to adjust to the news and make important legal, financial and medical decisions together before the disease advances,” comments Dr. Paul R. Solomon, professor, department of psychology and program in neuroscience, Williams College; clinical director, The Memory Clinic in Bennington, VT; survey co-chair and member of the AD Screening Discussion Group.

To ensure Americans are best prepared to deal with this growing health issue, the AD Screening Discussion Group encourages everyone with a loved one age 55 and over to visit to learn more about the disease, its signs and symptoms, and complete an online memory screener on behalf of a loved one if symptoms are suspected.

The list below can help distinguish between normal signs of aging and others signs that might indicate something more serious.

Normal Aging
Forgetting names of people you rarely see
Briefly forgetting part of an experience
Occasionally misplacing something
Mood changes due to an appropriate cause
Changes in your interests

Potential Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
Forgetting the names of people close to you
Forgetting a recent experience
Not being able to find important things
Having unpredictable mood changes
Decreased interest in outside activities

Always speak with a doctor if you suspect you or someone close to you may be experiencing memory loss or changes in cognitive ability that may indicate AD. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of early disease and speaking with a doctor about a medical diagnosis, you can get your loved one the help he or she needs. Early treatment with approved AD medications can slow symptom progression. Visit for more information.

Article courtesy of ARA Content

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