House Call: Alzheimer’s Disease – Signs, Symptoms & Risk Factors
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases. The disease causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.
Symptoms most often develop slowly and worsen over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Signs of functional decline are often the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, such as difficulty driving or getting lost, difficulty remembering to take medications or mixing them up, and later on, difficulty getting dressed, bathing or preparing meals. Memory impairment is also associated with Alzheimer’s, and those with the disease may have difficulty remembering appointments, keeping track of money or doing things they were once skilled at in their younger years.
There is a genetic component associated with Alzheimer’s, so those with family history of the disease should especially be informed of signs and symptoms of the condition. Other risk factors for developing dementia, in general, include hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, prior stroke, alcohol or drug abuse, and trauma to the head. If you or someone you know has been showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to seek proper medical attention and evaluation as soon as possible.
Cone Health has an exceptional network of geriatric specialists, primary care physicians, radiologists, neurologists and other related medical providers dedicated to educating, properly diagnosing, and caring for Alzheimer’s patients, their families, and caregivers throughout the community.
Dr. Tiffany Reed is a geriatric specialist at Piedmont Senior Care, and a member of the Cone Health medical staff. Dr. Reed earned her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her residency in internal medicine at The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, and a fellowship in geriatric medicine at Duke University Medical Center.