Bumrungrad International Hospital would like to shed some light on a widely misunderstood condition. From its symptoms and medical diagnosis to how to take care of a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, here’s our advice to you.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most commonly occurring and most well-known form of dementia. World Alzheimer’s Month (September of each year) is a global movement that helps to promote awareness of the disease, to lessen the stigma of it within society, allows for time to reflect on the impact of Alzheimer’s disease in a community, and gives an opportunity to offer emotional support.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Dementia occurs when there is a gradual decline in a person’s ability to think and remember, and it is persistent enough to interfere with everyday tasks and activities. It can be caused by brain disease or injury that damages brain cells, which in turn prevents them from properly functioning.
Alzheimer’s disease is considered to be a non-treatable form of dementia and accounts for roughly 65% of all irreversible cases. Although it cannot be cured by medicine or surgery, the progression of Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed with proper medical treatment and appropriate care.
Signs of Alzheimer’s disease
Generally speaking, symptoms of dementia include impaired reasoning, memory, and changes in personality. Signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Being confused with time
- Difficulty in communicating or expressing oneself
- Frequent forgetfulness
- Inability to maintain a schedule or routine
- Challenges with abstract or critical thinking
- Unable to make decisions
- Swift or unexplained changes in emotional behavior
- Poor judgment and reasoning
Diagnosing the condition
Everyone experiences memory lapses which generally increase in occurrence with age. It’s not something to worry about unless it makes completing daily tasks difficult.
If you or your loved one believes they are experiencing the early stages Alzheimer’s disease, Bumrungrad International Hospital’s Memory Clinic has a team of expert neurologists that provide screening and diagnosis for suspected dementia patients. This includes:
- Discussion of patient history
- Neurological examination and blood test
- Cognitive evaluation
- Brain MRI
The Memory Clinic is open Monday through Sunday from 8am to 8pm and is located on the 19th floor of the Bumrungrad International Clinic (BIC) building. Call us to make an appointment at +66 2011 3994, +66 2011 3995, or +66 2011 3996.
How you can help
Alzheimer’s disease does not only affect the person who is suffering from the condition, but also affects the people who are caring for them. This includes friends, family, and employed caregivers who experience emotional stress and personal struggle because of the round-the-clock care required to keep a dementia patient safe and healthy. Rather than confront or get agitated with an Alzheimer’s disease patient, handle situations with the following tips in mind:
- Divert or distract attention to prevent shame
- Repeat yourself but do not say “I already told you”
- Offer reassurance instead of lecturing
- Agree rather than argue
- Never give orders, but ask instead
- Be encouraging, not condescending
- Understand that unpleasant behavior is from the disease and not the patient’s true intention.
By Dr. Ketchai Suavansri, Neurologist specializing in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology and Alzheimer’s disease at the Neurology Center, Bumrungrad Hospital.
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