This week’s question:
It’s obviously dementia, so what’s the point in getting a diagnosis?
In the case that your loved one does have some form of dementia, it is still critical to receive appropriate medical attention through evaluations and assessments. While diseases like Alzheimer’s do not currently have a cure, an early diagnosis will allow individuals to explore possible treatment options, be involved in the healthcare decision-making process, and receive resources early to learn ways to live well with dementia.
However, there are many reasons why someone may be experiencing memory loss – not just dementia! Just because there are changes in their memory ability does not necessarily mean it is due to Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. More than 70 medical conditions have symptoms that may mimic Alzheimer’s disease and may cause memory problems. Memory loss is not a normal part of aging;many older adults experience memory loss but never receive proper medical attention because they believe that it is part of getting older, which is false.
There is also the chance that your loved one is experiencing “pseudodementia,” or a condition that has dementia-presenting symptoms but is actually a misdiagnosis of other issues, such as Thyroid deficiency, depression, medication toxicity, and infections
Many of the non-dementia related causes of memory loss are even treatable, giving you all the more reason to get a proper diagnosis. For a more in-depth list and explanations of treatable causes of memory loss, read our 13 Treatable Causes of Memory Loss article.
On that note, even memory problems that do not seem to be linked to any specific disease or cause can still be addressed. Research suggests that healthy lifestyle habits such as maintaining a nutritious diet, exercise, social engagement, and mentally stimulating activities can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Orange County offers a 4-Weeks to a Better Memory class, an interactive program with brain challenges designed to help undiagnosed adults come to terms with their memory and the aging process.
Have questions concerning Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory issues? We have answers.
As part of our array of programs and services for local families affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, Alzheimer’s Orange County offers a free telephone helpline to answer any questions you may have about the disease. Whether you are someone experiencing dementia or other memory problems, a caregiver, or simply have questions about the disease, our experts are here to provide you with the information, resources, and advice that you need.
Our very own Helpline Specialists join us on our blog series to answer the most frequently asked questions that they encounter from caregivers and their loved ones, as well as their solutions to common issues and difficulties you may be experiencing.
Have a question about Alzheimer’s & dementia, but don’t see it here? Be sure to contact Alzheimer’s Orange County’s Helpline at 844-HELP-ALZ (844-435-7259) and we will help. To see the other programs and resources that Alzheimer’s Orange County can offer to you and your loved ones, visit our website at https://www.alzoc.org/.