The Doctors: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Symptoms
Now he is experiencing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. For this experiment, he put on special shoes, gloves, goggles, and headphones. He had to follow the instructions on a distorted recording.
Dr. Jim said the simulation really scared him and gave him an appreciation for what Alzheimer’s Disease patients and their families are grappling with every day.
The Drs TV: Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Deaths
Dr. Travis Stork said Alzheimer’s and Dementia are the sixth leading cause of death in America. He said loss of mental capacity can cause your physical health and sense of self to deteriorate.
He explained how the diseases affect the brain. A healthy brain has billions of cells in constant communication, keeping your body running and helping you remember and recall information.
Different parts of the brain affect your various senses and body processes. But Alzheimer’s Disease disrupts these communication processes, causing irreversible damage.
Alzheimer’s Disease Effects
To discuss the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s, Dr. Travis welcomed Dr. Freda Lewis Hall, chief medical officer from Pfizer.
She said her own family, like millions of others, has been touched by the tragic effects of Alzheimer’s. She also said that the damage is usually already done well before doctors can make a diagnosis.
The Doctors: Alzheimer’s Disease Warning Signs
Dr. Travis shared some symptoms doctors watch for in diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Memory loss that starts to disrupt daily life.
- Challenges with simple problems.
- Difficulty with familiar tasks.
- Confusion with time and place.
- Changes in mood and personality.
- Withdrawal from work or social activity.
If you start to notice these progressive symptoms in a friend or family member, you may want to seek a medical evaluation.
Clock Test for Alzheimer’s Disease
Dr. Freda Lewis Hall explained that doctors may use a Clock Test to help determine whether a patient is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
She explained that the patient is simply asked to draw an analog clock, with the numbers in the correct positions. Next, they are asked to draw the hands of that clock to a specific time.
Alzheimer’s Clock Test
She showed examples of Clock Test results from people whose brains are naturally aging. Next, she showed the Clock Test results of some Alzheimer’s patients, who had much more difficulty even putting the numbers on the face of the clock.
“That’s because common errors that people with Alzheimer’s Disease will make include counterclockwise numbering, absence of numbers, and spatial arrangements can be off a little bit,” Dr. Travis said.
What To Do About Alzheimer’s Symptoms
He stressed that you shouldn’t ignore the symptoms, because early diagnosis can help you slow progression of the disease.
“A lot of people avoid the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s because of the stigma that’s associated with it,” Dr. Freda said. “But an early diagnosis allows you to have everyone involved in making those key decisions” about medical, financial, and personal planning.
Diseases That Share Alzheimer’s Symptoms
She added that you may be able to find community resources that can help you manage the condition. Also, getting symptoms checked out can rule out other causes with similar symptoms, including Depression, Nutritional Problems, and Drug Interactions.
How Alzheimer’s Disease Affects Caregivers
Dr. Travis said research shows Alzheimer’s Disease also takes a toll on loved ones and caregivers, who are at an increased risk for Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Arthritis. He said you have to manage your own health even while you are taking care of a loved one.
Dr. Freda called it an isolating disease, and she suggested that caregivers make sure to make their health a priority. Her website, heathierworld.net, has more resources for families dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.
The Drs TV: Sitting Health Dangers
Dr. Travis said that prolonged sitting puts you at greater risk for conditions such as Heart Disease and Diabetes. He recommended getting on your feet as often as possible throughout your day.