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Jul 08

Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Testing

A rising number of medical professionals feel that all older people must be professionally evaluated for Alzheimer’s. Would you be better off if the disease could be discovered early on, and if you and/or your relatives were tested?

Numerous groups now offer tests for memory conditions, looking for warning signs of early Alzheimer’s Disease or various kinds of dementia. Some MDs already typically test individuals older than 65 years of age, usually with questionnaires “name as many US states that you can possibly think of in one minute,” and so on. There are also exams to help you diagnose yourself.

So when do you search for medical professionals to conduct the critical exams and tests?  Perhaps this information can help.

Worldwide screening exams for Alzheimer’s is still controversial, and for numerousgood reasons:

It would include many people with no memory problems at all. Apart from the waste of time and money, testing can lead to fear, depression, and disruption of the family unit.

There is not any surefire way to tell the difference between mild age-related cognitive impairment, which may never worsen, and early Alzheimer’s. If the test shows that you are alright now but may develop dementia further down the road, what can you do with that information?

Diagnostic examinations for early dementia are not reliable, specifically in people under the age of 70 years of age. Misdiagnoses could be horrifying. People might lose their jobs, license to drive or even possible caregivers, and not be able to obtain insurance.

If early diagnosis leads to additional treatment with medication, well, we just don’t know. Alzheimer’s medications are expensive, and their benefits are limited and of brief duration. They are prescribed only for people who are already exhibiting clear signs of dementia.

Early diagnosis would truly assist the drug companies more so than the public, according to some critics.

So just where do we stand right now?

Alzheimer’s disease may be the diagnosis we fear most. The risk goes up with age, and the numbers are going up. We so badly require a better understanding of this condition and improved diagnostic tools. We need preventive means, as well as beneficial treatments. Further research into Alzheimer’s testing is necessary before burdening patients and their already overtaxed primary-care physicians with screening tests of dubious reliability and unproven benefits.

If you are afraid that you or a loved one may be showing symptoms of obvious loss of memory or Alzheimer’s, talk about the problem with your doctor. If tests reveal no issues, you will be relieved. If you do have a dementia diagnosis, you can get ready for what’s to come to the best of your ability by looking for a quality memory care home and, if advised, try the medications that are available. We strongly caution against examinations at local community centers and similar facilities, or tests performed by yourself. 

It’s, definitely, a relief to realize that there are many fantastic Vancouver nursing homes to provide the most appropriate living conditions and personalized care that anyone suffering from Alzheimer’s can turn to.  It’s not a simple road, but there’s good information and assistance available if you look for it.

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