CHICAGO – Too few people with signs of mental retardation or dementia are examined or experienced during routine medical visits if a problem is found, says a group of Alzheimer's experts who offered new advice on Sunday.
The idea is to get help sooner for people whose mind is slipping – even if there is no cure.
Although mental retardation can be an uncomfortable issue for patients and their doctors, the panel says GPs should take a thorough assessment when symptoms occur.
Patients and family members should push for an assessment if they fear the Symptoms could not age normally ̵
"Until you forget what the keys are, you're too far away to attend to your own welfare, we've probably lost a decade," that could have been spent on planning, s. Alireza Atri, neurologist at the Sun Health Research Institute banner in Arizona.
It's not just the memory that can suffer when mental deterioration sets in, Atri said.
Her character and personality are "sometimes, years before being diagnosed with dementia," he said.
More than 50 million people worldwide suffer from dementia; Alzheimer's is the most common form. In the United States, nearly 6 million people have Alzheimer's and nearly 12 million children have mild cognitive impairment, a common precursor.
In 2015, an Alzheimer's study using Medicare records revealed that only about half of the people who had been treated for Alzheimer's were told by their health care provider that they had been diagnosed with the disease.
"All too often, doctors will hear of some symptoms or memory problems from patients or their spouse and say," You know you seem okay with me today "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" " "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" said James Hendrix, an Alzheimer Association science specialist who worked with the panel, and in the meantime, the patient may be rushed to work on problems such as forgetting diabetes medication Hospital because his mental retardation was not caught.
"We always hear people need years to get an accurate diagnosis," said Nina Silverberg, a psychologist who runs Alzheimer's programs at the National Institute on Aging, which did not play a role in the guidelines.
Medicare has recently begun to cover mental ratings as part of the annual wellness visit, but doctors are not required to do so ht, she said. In some cases, it might be as superficial as asking, "What is your memory?"
The panel was appointed by the Alzheimer's Society and included family physicians, aging specialists, nurses, and a psychiatrist. Comprehensive guidelines were released on Sunday at the group's international conference in Chicago; Details will be released later this year.
The guidelines do not recommend reviewing all. They describe what health workers should do when people describe worrying symptoms. These include: reviewing risk factors that may contribute to dementia or other brain diseases, including family history, heart disease and head injury; Pen-and-pencil memory tests; Imaging tests to detect small strokes or brain injuries that may cause memory problems
Dr. Michael Sitorius, chairman of family medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said that dealing with mental deterioration is compounding the challenge of caring for often frail elderly patients.
It's a difficult diagnosis for many doctors, he said, because it's a medical education focused on "trying to cure people and Alzheimer's and dementia are not curable."
He said he gives his elderly patients mental tests in their annual checks – but that sometimes patients or loved ones do not want to hear the results. In these cases, Sitorius is still treating related issues such as depression, medication, nutrition, and whether patients should continue driving.
He said the new guidelines are a welcome reminder to family physicians to address these issues earlier.
"Sure." "We could do better," he said.
A diagnosis should never be withheld for fear of depressing the patient,
"We encourage full disclosure," including diagnosis "Stage and prognosis," he said.
At the urging of her daughter, Anne Hunt visited her family doctor in 2011 because of the increasing forgetfulness.Hunt, 81, who once ran a cooking school in Chicago, remembers her having memory tests with letters and numbers
"I thought, 'OK, that's it, I'm a vegetable,'" Hunt said, but the test results were inconclusive, and there was no diagnosis
"We did not do much," said Bruce Hunt, Anne's husband, until five years later, when her behavior worsened significantly – more memory lapses, she repeated herself and forgot where to put things.
B she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's after an imaging test showed brain changes that were often seen with the disease. Imaging tests are sometimes used along with mental tests to diagnose the disease or rule out other conditions.
"There's no pill they can take to make it go away, so some people think it makes no sense to get a diagnosis," but that's not true, said the Silverberg of the National Institute of Aging , "It really offers an opportunity to plan."
Alzheimer's medicines like Aricept and Namenda can relieve symptoms, but are not a cure.
Experts say that other benefits include a chance to experiment with experiments, solve finances, find caregivers, make homes safer, and use reminders and calendars to promote an independent life.
The Hunts joined support groups and a vocal ensemble, hoping that testing new things would help them cope with it. They were better prepared than others. Long before their diagnosis, they transformed an old Chicago home into two spacious homes so they could "grow old" with the help of one of their daughters and their family.
Anne Hunt said she wanted to learn the truth about her diagnosis (19659003) "Not knowing is to wonder why things happen to you and you do not understand them," she said. "I'd rather know and help me figure out how to control it as much as I can."
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