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What are the Best Tips for Alzheimer's Awareness?

Article Details
  • Written By: T. Webster
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 25 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Various Alzheimer’s disease advocacy groups can offer the best tips for Alzheimer’s awareness. These groups help define the disease, its treatment and its warning signs. Alzheimer’s disease can begin slowly but is progressive and fatal, with no known cure. The disease progressively destroys brain cells, leading to memory loss and, over time, an inability to perform basic daily living functions.

Alzheimer’s awareness is important because the disease can have very subtle warning signs in its beginning stages. In the very early stages, Alzheimer’s can be difficult to detect, even for a medical doctor. The first signs can appear to be normal signs of aging, such as occasionally forgetting something or taking slightly longer than usual to complete a common task.

As the disease progresses, forgetfulness and impaired functioning become more obvious. This can appear as a difficulty in remembering how to do simple math calculations, for example. Making occasional errors is normal, but it might be an indication of Alzheimer’s if a person completely forgets how to do something.

Other warning signs to look for are being confused about dates, times and places. A person with Alzheimer’s might not be able to remember what year it is. There also might be problems with visual perception and with written and spoken language. A lack of judgment, such as poor grooming habits or releasing too much personal information to a telemarketer are other possible warning signs of Alzheimer's.

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Alzheimer’s awareness tips also advise that a person with Alzheimer’s might begin withdrawing from normal activities. This can include work, hobbies or social activities and clubs. Withdrawal sometimes happens when a person with Alzheimer’s feels ashamed over not being able to remember certain things.

Other symptoms of Alzheimer’s can mimic some of the symptoms of psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia. If the onset of Alzheimer’s is swift, various psychological tests might be performed to rule out mental illnesses. Some of these symptoms can include severe anxiety, pacing, physical or verbal outbursts, tearing papers or other items, hallucinations and delusions.

Alzheimer’s awareness also involves understanding the various stages of the disease. As the disease progresses, symptoms can worsen to the point of an inability to communicate or perform basic daily care activities. In the very final stages of the disease, the patient might become unable to walk or communicate at all.

An important aspect of Alzheimer’s awareness is that it has no known cure, but certain drug treatments appear to be able to slow its progression. Researchers also are trying to learn more about the causes of Alzheimer’s, which might be linked to heredity. There also is some evidence that a healthy lifestyle, combined with being socially active and performing mentally challenging tasks, can help ward off the chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

Caregiver support also is a significant issue in Alzheimer’s awareness. Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be physically and emotionally draining, and the caretakers also will need support. At some point, the disease can progress to a point where it is no longer possible for family members to care for the person. That is why it is important to explore all possible care arrangements soon after the disease is diagnosed.

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