AUGUSTA -— Everyone gets confused or forgetful on occasion. But for the 5.3 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, these

occasions are increasingly severe and can produce erratic and sometimes dangerous behavior. That’s why it is essential to quickly identify and

help people with this illness.

Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains change as we age. Most of us notice slowed thinking and occasional problems remembering certain

things. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the way our minds work are not a normal part of aging and may be a sign that brain cells are failing.

In Alzheimer’s disease, as in other types of dementia, increasing numbers of brain cells deteriorate and die. In most cases, symptoms

first appear after age 60, and the risk goes up if a family member has had the disease.

In recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in November, here is information from the Alzheimer’s Association that may help you better

understand and recognize this dementia.

The 10 common warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease are:

1. Memory changes that disrupt daily life.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at


4. Confusion with time or place.

5.Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.

6.New problems with words in speaking or writing.

7.Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.

8.Decreased or poor judgment.

9.Withdrawal from work or social activities.

10.Changes in mood and personality.

For people with dementia and their families, an early diagnosis has a couple of advantages. First, it leaves time to make choices that

maximize the quality of life through appropriate treatment. Second, it lessens anxieties about unknown problems, allowing more time to plan for

the future.

Every 70 seconds someone will develop Alzheimer’s making this the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. Currently, there

is no cure, but medication and alternative treatments may help with both cognitive and behavioral symptoms.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is life-changing for the individual diagnosed and all those close to him or her. One of the most

important goals of the MCGHealth Memory Disorders Clinic, the region’s only clinic dedicated to diagnosing and treating memory loss, is

supportive care for patients and families through education and awareness.

Research has shown that taking full advantage of available treatment, care and support, can make life better for those living with

Alzheimer’s. If you have concerns about memory loss, thinking skills and behavior changes in yourself or a loved one, contact your


MCG Health, Inc. (d/b/a MCGHealth) is a not-for-profit corporation operating the MCGHealth Medical Center, MCGHealth Children’s Medical

Center, the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center, and related outpatient facilities and services throughout the state. For more information,

please visit

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