According to the National Institute of Aging (NIA) Alzheimer’s disease is an
irreversible, progressive brain disease that over time destroys thinking capabilities,
memory, and eventually the ability to care for oneself. The exact causes for the
disease are unknown, but it is most prominent in individuals over the age of 60,
and is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Individuals with
preclinical Alzheimer’s can be symptom free for 10 years while the disease
progresses and neurons begin to lose functionality.
Look for symptoms
Alzheimer’s has proven difficult to detect early because many of the early symptoms
are the same as those associated with aging. The symptoms below are some of the
early warning signs:
• Memory problems.
• Difficulty paying bills or handling money.
• Repeating questions that have already been answered.
• Mood or personality changes, often becoming easily agitated or angered.
Reduce your chances
While there is no absolute guaranteed prevention for Alzheimer’s there are a few
ways shown to decrease the chances of developing this disease.
• Participating in intellectual activities such as chess, crossword puzzles, playing
instruments or reading.
• Regular amounts of social interaction and physical activity.
While regular screening is not recommended Ohio State University (OSU) has
published an at-home cognitive function test (SAGE) to help your patients with the
early detection of Alzheimer’s. For more information about the test or to take it,
direct your patients to visit the OSU website http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/alzheimers/sagetest/Pages/index.aspx