The Importance of an Early Diagnosis

The Importance of an Early Diagnosis

The Importance of an Early Diagnosis

Diseases like Alzheimer’s and related dementias are degenerative neurological diseases that degrade brain cells, contributing to memory loss, confusion, decreased language ability, and difficulty functioning. In this blog we will go over why it is important to make a visit to the doctor if you suspect you or a loved one is developing dementia. As we get older, it is common for us to be more forgetful. But there is a point when forgetfulness and confusion become a real problem in your everyday life and the lives of your family members. According to a policy brief by the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated half of people with Alzheimer’s have not been diagnosed. And among those who are diagnosed, an estimated 33% are aware of the diagnosis, signaling that many people are diagnosed too late.[1] An early diagnosis will help you or a loved one receive higher quality care, treatment, and a robust health plan that can contribute to a better management of the symptoms associated with dementia.

Although forgetfulness and confusion can be completely normal in old age, it is still important to visit a doctor. Many people may not want to go because they are afraid of what they will learn. But this is an unwise attitude, because regardless of a diagnosis, if dementia is there, it will inevitably get worse. The purpose of an early diagnosis is to lessen the severity of symptoms so you or a loved one can take more control over the disease and other aspects of life. Additionally, in the worst-case scenario where a dementia diagnosis is given, you or a loved one can begin planning care and managing finances accordingly, as well as determining who in the family will take over when you or a loved one is unable to do so. Like any diagnosis, reckoning with the reality of a diagnosis is difficult and traumatic. Fortunately, doctors can point their patients to resources that can help them process these difficult emotions, while also being directed at finding the appropriate strategies for care.

What are the common symptoms?

Common symptoms for dementia in the early stages can seem harmless, but it is still crucial to consult with a doctor to determine conclusively whether a serious problem actually exists. Some commons symptoms to be aware of include[2]:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty planning
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking or with recalling words
  • Losing things
  • Poor judgment
  • Changes in social interactions
  • Changes in mood

Every one of these can be a symptom of a degenerative neurological disorder or just a normal part of aging. What differentiates serious symptoms from the latter is that they encroach on overall wellbeing, making life difficult for people experiencing these symptoms. For instance, forgetting where you left your watch is different than forgetting your son or daughter’s name.

Call ElderCare!

We hope that this blog has been helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!

[1] Source: https://www.alz.org/publichealth/downloads/policy-brief.pdf

[2] Source: https://www.alz.org/10-signs-symptoms-alzheimers-dementia.asp

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