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Alzheimer’s Question, Where can I get the best medical evaluation for my wife?


Q. My wife’s doctor thinks she may have an early form of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been a week since he gave us that devastating news, but I now feel able to gather my wits and do whatever I can to help get her the best care. We are retired, 78 years old, and able to travel to any center that is recommended. What medical specialists should we seek out for a more extensive evaluation and/or care?

Also see Most Early-Onset Dementia Not Alzheimer’s and Eight Types of Dementia Defined

Source Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Questions About Alzheimer’s Disease

A. Your wife’s primary care physician might be the best person to oversee her care. If you would like to see a specialist in Alzheimer’s disease or would like to participate in research, you should contact the nearest Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center or ask your internist if there is a specialist in your community who is particularly knowledgeable about Alzheimer’s disease. Even if you do pursue another opinion or participate in research, you should keep her primary physician informed. In the end, her internist’s care will be crucial to her well being.

Is it Alzheimer’s or something else?

Q. Many people assume that if an older person becomes forgetful and can no longer deal with some of the basic activities of daily living, he or she must have Alzheimer’s disease. A sad case in point: My father’s internist diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s disease last year (my father was then 80) and prescribed medication that didn’t seem to help at all. It wasn’t until I took my father to a neurologist that we learned he actually had a benign brain tumor that was affecting his memory and behavior. With that as a backdrop, what are some other brain diseases that may be mistaken for Alzheimer’s? Santa Fe, NM

A. Dementia, the diminution of multiple cognitive abilities occurring in normal alertness, can be caused by numerous factors. These include space-occupying brain lesions (tumors, collections of blood called subdural hematomas, and abscesses); infection (meningitis, encephalitis, syphilis, to name a few); impaired cerebral spinal fluid flow causing normal pressure hydrocephalus; metabolic and endocrine abnormalities (too much or too little thyroid hormone or cortisol are examples); radiation to the brain; brain trauma; stroke; and medication side-effects. Severe depression can also cause dementia. This is why medical, neurologic, and psychiatric assessments are essential parts of the initial evaluation of dementia.

 

Alzheimer’s Question, Where can I get the best medical evaluation for my wife?


Q. My wife’s doctor thinks she may have an early form of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been a week since he gave us that devastating news, but I now feel able to gather my wits and do whatever I can to help get her the best care. We are retired, 78 years old, and able to travel to any center that is recommended. What medical specialists should we seek out for a more extensive evaluation and/or care?

Also see Most Early-Onset Dementia Not Alzheimer’s and Eight Types of Dementia Defined

Source Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Questions About Alzheimer’s Disease

A. Your wife’s primary care physician might be the best person to oversee her care. If you would like to see a specialist in Alzheimer’s disease or would like to participate in research, you should contact the nearest Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center or ask your internist if there is a specialist in your community who is particularly knowledgeable about Alzheimer’s disease. Even if you do pursue another opinion or participate in research, you should keep her primary physician informed. In the end, her internist’s care will be crucial to her well being.

Is it Alzheimer’s or something else?

Q. Many people assume that if an older person becomes forgetful and can no longer deal with some of the basic activities of daily living, he or she must have Alzheimer’s disease. A sad case in point: My father’s internist diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s disease last year (my father was then 80) and prescribed medication that didn’t seem to help at all. It wasn’t until I took my father to a neurologist that we learned he actually had a benign brain tumor that was affecting his memory and behavior. With that as a backdrop, what are some other brain diseases that may be mistaken for Alzheimer’s? Santa Fe, NM

A. Dementia, the diminution of multiple cognitive abilities occurring in normal alertness, can be caused by numerous factors. These include space-occupying brain lesions (tumors, collections of blood called subdural hematomas, and abscesses); infection (meningitis, encephalitis, syphilis, to name a few); impaired cerebral spinal fluid flow causing normal pressure hydrocephalus; metabolic and endocrine abnormalities (too much or too little thyroid hormone or cortisol are examples); radiation to the brain; brain trauma; stroke; and medication side-effects. Severe depression can also cause dementia. This is why medical, neurologic, and psychiatric assessments are essential parts of the initial evaluation of dementia.

 

Book Review: The 36-Hour Day

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease and Memory Loss in Later Life

This best-selling book is the “bible” for families caring for people with Alzheimer disease…offering comfort and support to millions worldwide. In addition to the practical and compassionate guidance that have made The 36-Hour Day invaluable to caregivers, the fourth edition is the only edition currently available that includes new information on medical research and the delivery of care.

The new edition includes:

new information on diagnostic evaluation-resources for families and adult children who care for people with dementia-updated legal and financial information-the latest information on nursing homes and other communal living arrangements-new information on research, medications, and the biological causes and effects of dementia.


Tami Greene said…

This book has been the single most helpful tool my family has been given to help us help my mother as she progresses with Alzheimer’s Disease. While other books have touched on many of the topics in this book, no where else have we found as much practical information on how to avoid confrontations with her; ways to improve her daily living; ideas to keep her involved with us and to provide meaning to her life; questions to ask her doctors; types of resources that are available (depending on your area); what to expect as the disease progresses; and how to help each other as we take on the many different roles needed to provide care for her.

I highly recommend this book to others; in fact, I have purchased multiple copies to share with family members and donate to my local library – that’s how helpful and important this book is!

Arthur Jones said…

This is a excellent book and reference for those learning to deal with Alzheimer. Plenty of resources and ideas of what to look for when caring for someone with this disease. You can get a good idea of what to expect and how to help those suffering with this devastating disease. Easy to understand and read. Can’t recommend this book enough.

 
 
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