June is Alzheimer's Awareness month, and we've partnered with the Alzheimer's Association to help answer your questions and concerns about possible symptoms and how to deal with a diagnosis.
Although there is no cure, the Alzheimer's Association says an early diagnosis does offer benefits.
Dr. Daniel Murman is a professor of neurological sciences at UNMC. He says patients may notice a change in memory themselves, "but often loved ones will notice people are very forgetful, they repeat things, they misplace things."
He says doctors will do a memory test by asking the patient questions. They'll also review medical history and medications the person is taking. Brain imaging can detect abnormal areas. Doctors can do lab tests to help rule out other issues. Sometimes the diagnosis is actually something that is treatable, "I will say a lot of young people come in, and it's not Alzheimer's disease. We see things like sleep apnea, medications, sometimes depression."
If it is Alzheimer's disease, an early diagnosis may allow a person to take part in clinical trials. You can learn about trials offered through UNMC. The Alzheimer's Association also compiles active trials.
There are also FDA-approved medications that can help a patient handle the symptoms they are experiencing.
Perhaps, most importantly, a diagnosis allows a family to prepare for the future and allows the patient and loved ones to tap into a number of resources available to them through the Alzheimer's Association.
They even have a 24/7 Helpline for a patient or caregiver who may need support or have concerns, 800.272.3900.
3 News Now will continue to cover questions and concerns you may have regarding Alzheimer's throughout the month of June.