Alzheimer's - Know the 10 Signs - Early Detection Matters

Ask the Experts by Barbara Roden

Q. I am 82 years old. Last week in the middle of a conversation with a friend I simply forgot what we were talking about. I completely lost my train of thought. Then, just yesterday, I became disoriented when driving to the beauty salon I've patronized for the past 30 years and couldn't remember how to get there. Do I have Alzheimer's?

A. Those can be very scary situations but don't necessarily mean you have Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is just one form of dementia.  There can be other forms of dementia as well as numerous physical factors that could cause the symptoms. These include metabolic and endocrine abnormalities (e.g. thyroid imbalance), infection (e.g., meningitis, encephalitis), and impaired cerebral spinal fluid flow causing hydrocephalus, radiation, brain trauma, or stroke. Even urinary tract infections and depression can contribute to dementia.

Physical, neurologic, and psychiatric assessments are essential parts in evaluating dementia. If you are concerned, the best recommendation is to ask your physician for a referral to a neurologist or psychiatrist for a thorough evaluation. 

The Alzheimer's Association developed a checklist of common symptoms to help recognize the warning signs. It is important to differentiate between Alzheimer's warning signs and normal age related changes.

One of the warning signs is disorientation to time and place. People with Alzheimer's disease can become lost in their own neighborhood, forget where they are, how they got there and how to get home. Normal age-related changes would be forgetting which way to turn to get to a store location that you go to occasionally. While memory loss is another warning sign, there are many issues that can factor into the cause.

The 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Disease provides a starting point for your exploration of the disease, its symptoms and treatments. You're asking the right questions and it's good to be evaluated if you demonstrate any of these behaviors. Early detection is important. While there is no cure for Alzheimer's, there are treatments available that can slow down the progression of the disease and help maintain independence longer. 

Barbara Roden is the Owner of Senior Helpers located at 18080 Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe. For further information call 313. 885.0600 or visit the website at Senior Helpers is a member of the Family Center's Association of Professionals. 

To learn all ten warning signs and discuss the difference between dementia symptoms and typical age related changes join us on Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at The Grosse Pointe Academy for a special multi-presentation night.


April 28, 2015, 6:30pm-8:00pm, Grosse Pointe Academy, 171 Lakeshore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms, FREE Special Multi-Presentation Night Each multi-presentation begins at 6:30pm: Alzheimer's/Dementia and Attention/Sleep Disorders Alzheimer's/Dementia "Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters" with Barbara Roden "Lewy Body Dementia: Mysteries Unveiled" with Sarah Thurston, LMSW  Attention/Sleep Disorders "Unlock Your Mind's Potential" with R. Bart Sangal, MD "What Can Be Done About Sleep Disorders?" with R. Bart Sangal, MD


INFO: (313) 432-3832 

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