The importance of Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis
Alzheimer's disease is probably one of the most feared diseases of old age, and its diagnosis comes with shock, feelings of disbelief, anger and hopelessness. The misconceptions about Alzheimer's disease can prevent people from seeking diagnosis and therefore receiving treatment and making plans for the future. Noticing warning signs of the condition should be an indicator for scheduling doctor appointment where diagnostic tests are performed to assess overall neurological health.
Signs and symptoms
Early stages of dementia are often mistaken for normal ageing. So what to look for?
- Memory problems
- Decline in communication skills
- Recognition and coordination difficulties
- Changes in behaviour, judgement and moods
- Loss of daily life skills
Getting checked by a doctor will reveal whether these symptoms are really because of onset of Alzheimer’s disease or some other condition.
Benefits of diagnosis
Taking the first steps towards Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be scary as the condition is associated with loss of independence. Even though doctors can't offer a cure to Alzheimer’s, there are benefits to getting an early diagnosis. These include:
Access to treatment options
There are no medications that would stop or reverse the progression of Alzheimer's disease, but doctors can offer treatments to manage the symptoms. Medications like cholinesterase inhibitors can improve thinking, memory, communication or day-to-day activities.
Opportunity to participate in clinical trials
Clinical trials are crucial in testing the safety and effectiveness of new treatments, diagnostic methods, devices, or surgical procedures for a wide range of health conditions. Early diagnosis makes individuals eligible for participating in medical research, which can have multiple benefits such as trying a new drug and receiving care from a dedicated team of health professionals.
Planning for the future
Early diagnosis can reduce the feeling of anxiety for Alzheimer's patients and their families, as acknowledging the condition gives everyone time to plan. You might want to think about joining support groups or services. Moreover, you might wish to review your financial situation and make decisions about legal affairs and check with your insurance company.
Strategies to prioritise your health
Lifestyle changes can both prevent dementia and help to maintain cognitive function after diagnosis. Healthy behaviours include regular exercise, eating a healthy brain diet and being intellectually engaged to keep the mind active. MindMate app offers online memory games for seniors making healthy aging a priority. The games are designed to challenge the four core cognitive areas: problem-solving, speed, memory, and attention.
Sign up for Mindmate today
Do you want to learn more about dementia and how to keep your cognitive functions fit and healthy? Sign up for our Mindmate app and enjoy brain games to improve your memory, exercises, and lifestyle hacks that can benefit your cognitive function. Sign up here.