Anxious About Alzheimer's?
Even if you spent 20 minutes looking for your glasses to read this article, things might not be as bad as they seem.
It's true the dreaded Alzheimer's disease often starts with minor memory lapses, but not all lapses are signs of serious illness.
"We don't want people to be frightened when this happens," said Dr. Edward J. Purzycki, a neuropsychologist who is clinical director of Lancaster General's Memory Disorders Program in Lancaster, Pa. "Sometimes the cause is benign. Maybe it's just the effect of medication." ...
"People are often anxious that they have Alzheimer's, so they don't talk to their doctor about it because of that anxiety," Purzycki said. "Others are overly anxious about it and vigilant about every slip they make in regard to memory, and it begins to snowball. We want to put people's minds at ease ..."
He said there are signs people can look for to detect a memory problem that should be checked by a physician.
"Language is one of the areas that deteriorates with Alzheimer's. For some people, language dysfunction is the first sign -- misusing language or word substitution errors, so it's important to talk to a doctor about that," he said.
Another sign is confusion in familiar circumstances -- getting lost on the way to a place frequently visited or using familiar tools.