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Alzheimer's: The Facts
by: David McFarlane

Someone in your family has Alzheimer's disease, and you have been gathering info on Alzheimer's disease to try to help you make decisions about what to do next, but everything you find is so scientific and complicated. What can you tell your kids to make them understand why their grandfather or uncle does not recognize them anymore? The info on Alzheimer's disease below is aimed at children and families, so read it together.

Alzheimer's: What Is It?

Alzheimer's disease is a form of a mental disorder known as dementia. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously hampers the brains ability to process rational or normal thought and inhibits the daily activities of its sufferers because of this. Alzheimer's disease, therefore, affects the part of the brain that is responsible for thought, memory, and language.

Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death in America. The German physician Alois Alzheimer first identified this disorder in 1907. This disorder is a serious illness that affects the memory ability of the brain, capability of learning, making rational decisions and capacity to function routinely.

Alzheimer's disease robs millions of people each year of their memories, their personalities, and the ability to complete daily activities. For the longest time, it was believed that nothing could be done to prevent this awful disease; that it was simply something that people had to look forward to when they reached their golden years. However, new research indicates that there is a number of ways to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

The hallmark sign of Alzheimer's disease is the loss of memory. Generally, those 65 years of age or older, begin to concern themselves with this disease at the first episodes of forgetfulness. Although forgetfulness is a sign of Alzheimer's disease, it is important to note that there are other signals that may herald the onset of this malady. Therefore, being knowledgeable about Alzheimer's, through exhibited signs, and is paramount for our loved one’s health as well as our own.

Dealing With Alzheimer's

Hearing the news that a family member has received an Alzheimer's diagnosis can be an emotionally devastating moment in anyones life. However, before the Alzheimer's diagnosis can be given to the patient and their family, the patient must undergo a variety of laboratory tests, such as medical assessments and laboratory measurements. There is no single test existing that will categorically give the Alzheimer's diagnosis.

With this proactive stance, diagnosticians have been able to devise a set of Alzheimer's disease testing tools that can detect symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in its earlier stages. As of yet, there is no single diagnostic test that is able to determine if a person has Alzheimer's disease, but the battery of testing that is available makes it possible for physicians to diagnose it with about 90 percent accuracy. Alzheimers disease testing can take anywhere from one day to several weeks to ensure accuracy and proper diagnosis.

An Alzheimer's test is important to ensure that the person is not just going through the usual memory loss associated with age; however, sometimes an Alzheimer's test is not necessary. Alzheimer's disease doesn’t just affect a persons memory; it can make people see things that aren’t there, and even send them into screaming fits. If you think a loved one is starting to become senile or experience other symptoms of dementia, you may want that person to undergo Alzheimer's testing. Unfortunately, there is currently no definitive test for Alzheimer's disease that a person can undergo. The only way doctors diagnose Alzheimer's with 100% certainty is through physical examination of the brain after the person has passed away. Rather than Alzheimer's testing, what you want to look for is some type of psychological and behavioral screening coupled with extensive tests to rule out other types of dementia.

Living With Alzheimer's

Living with Alzheimer's can be a crippling experience for both the disease sufferer and the family that is involved. There are many moments of misunderstanding or confusion for most and the symptoms can become frustrating and difficult. The loss of memory and other associated factors can often cause immense separation in families and can create a nervous tension on relationships that is not necessary if suitable information is available and utilized by all parties involved.

Finding in-house Alzheimer's help should not be an emotionally laden issue for the entire family. Tackling this need in an organized way, from evaluating to planning, is the key to making in-house Alzheimer's help feasible. First, you should sit down and evaluate the needs of the family caregiver and the patient. From there, creating a job list and a set of guidelines becomes easy to make and follow.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's can be a daunting task. You will need all of the support you can get, along with the latest and most significant Alzheimer's info and research. It is a confusing time, and the more you know, the more confident you will feel in your ability to give your loved one the best possible care and support. It is also important to build a support network that will help you to avoid the common problems associated with caretaker burnout.
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