My purpose with this article is to bring more light to your thinking about the disease and the causes/effects on both the patient and their family or friends. From my observation, it is much more than just “forgetfulness.” The disease brings mental and emotional frustration for everyone involved, with escaping memories causing a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows!
There have been enough news-worthy celebrities with early onset of the disease to dispel the myth that Alzheimer’s is only for the old! Although there is no “quick” test to diagnose Alzheimer’s, there are tests to rule out other possibilities such as stroke or tumor. One of the first signs is usually loss of short-term memories: what has recently happened, or even words to finish a thought. There are times when a friend or relative CANNOT remember what they just ate, or the important thing they were going to share with you, or even how to get back to the house when they walked down the block! Don’t ignore the signs, but also realize these symptoms can be caused by other highly treatable diseases.
Even if Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, early treatment seems to be the best solution for some control of symptoms. Currently there are no medications that do more than slow the progress of the disease. As the disease progresses, the nerve cells and other tissues in the brain get smaller, and the clear spinal fluid found in the brain and spine increases, damaging memory, speech and understanding. A person can just “forget” to eat, or even how to swallow. This possible lack of enough nutrition, in addition to breathing difficulty, is part of the reason for Alzheimer’s ranking as the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
Now let’s put a positive spin on prevention of this disease! Expert medical researchers now think that Alzheimer’s may be type-3 diabetes that attacks the brain. If they are right, then like so many other chronic conditions, controlling “lifestyle” factors such as a healthy diet, and exercise of both body and mind, might lower your risk.
On the other side of reality, AND “positivity,” half of one of my favorite couples was diagnosed several years ago. On days when they exercise, much of the individuality and lovingness or their enduring relationship is there to see (and for both to appreciate). It makes the memories live again!
Please watch the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fNsRoOiEKU
These dancers and the background music present us with one of the most beautiful and touching representations I have ever seen for both patient and caretaker…a reality for all concerned that we MUST approach with love and caring!
Linda Cook BS, CWES 937-369-7363 cell 937-748-9905 office email@example.com