Not sure if a loved one has Alzheimer’s? Here are the signs, symptoms to look out for

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Conviva Care Center is here to be your healthcare provider for every stage of life after 65.

Do you have a loved one who could be showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease?

It’s a progressive disease usually found in seniors that destroys memory and other mental functions.

According to Alz.org, an estimated 6.2 million Americans ages 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in 2021 -- and 72% are ages 75 or older.

To get a better understanding of how to get proper care for the seniors in your life, Dr. Prashanth Rao, with internal medicine at the Conviva Care Center Westover Hills location, discussed some commonly asked questions.


What is Alzheimer’s disease?

“Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease of the brain and it causes progressive dementia,” said Rao. “The sum total of our research so far shows that it’s due to an accumulation of abnormal proteins in the brain that kind of disrupt and gunk up neuron function and causes a cognitive decline.”


What are some of the causes of this disease?

“There are two types of Alzheimer’s. There’s the more common, (which) is the late-onset or sporadic, and it affects people in their mid-60s,” Rao said. “Usually, it’ll manifest initially with some short-term memory loss. It’ll progress to some motor deficits or difficulty writing. There may be difficulty in remembering phone numbers and things like that. Then it progresses to more long-term memory loss, where, unfortunately, people will actually forget even the names of their loved family members. In some cases, there’s kind of total mental and physical sort of decline, where these people end up bedridden and they often succumb to infections.”


What are some signs of Alzheimer’s?

“If you notice that a loved one is behaving more erratically, and you have to repeat things to them very frequently, or they get lost in their neighborhood on the way home,” Rao said. “These are all indications that the individual needs to be evaluated.”

Takeaway: If a loved one is experiencing violent mood swings or becoming disoriented, these are signs you may need to speak with a medical professional for an evaluation.


How do you treat someone with Alzheimer’s?

“Unfortunately, there is no definitive cure for Alzheimer’s, but we use medications to help optimize whatever memory and learning these patients have,” explained Rao. “They’re called cholinesterase inhibitors, and there’s a new class of immunotherapy that the FDA has recently approved that actually targets some of these protein builds up build up in the brain, and by reversing them, it’s been shown to actually decrease the rate of clinical decline.”

Takeaway: There are medications that can optimize memory function for Alzheimer’s patients.


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Conviva Care Center says it’s available to be your health care provider for every stage of life after 65.