Articles > Alzheimers Disease/Dementia > Seek an Early Diagnosis

Seek an Early Diagnosis

Published by Chapster on 2003/5/30 (5271 reads)
Seek An Early Diagnosis

In a recent seminar which we were privileged to present at and attend, the speakers, experts on Alzheimer's Disease, noted how important it is to obtain a diagnosis as early as possible.

Sometimes, Alzheimer's masquerades as depression or several other problems. Therefore, at the first sign of change, the advice of a doctor should be sought. While a family physician may be able to diagnose and treat AD, we would recommend that you seek the expertise of a major medical center, preferably a teaching hospital.

It is important that as definitive a diagnosis as possible be made as early as possible so that treatment can begin. The reasons for this are several. First, the medicines currently available cannot reverse the effects of AD. At best, they can, for a while, slow its progress. Thus, medication should be started as soon as possible. Wherever the dementia is at when it is diagnosed, it can be slowed from that point forward, with treatment. You cannot go back.

Moreover, since current medications cannot reverse AD and may keep a person "just the same" for a while longer, families should weigh carefully, once a person gets into the end stages, whether these medications are just prolonging the loved ones suffering.

Another reason for starting treatment early is because the earlier treatment is started, the more that can be done to prepare the patient and family for what may lie ahead. With preparation and the right kinds of support, much can be done to help stave off placement in a long term care facility.

Tags: dementia   alzheimer's   diagnosis   early   treatment  

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