An Alzheimer's Diagnosis - Process, Acceptance, Coping

Wondering about the process and issues for an Alzheimer's diagnosis?

The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is somewhat difficult, as no single test can properly confirm Alzheimer’s. Because the most accurate way to diagnose Alzheimer’s is through the examination of tissue (i.e. brain tissue), which obviously cannot be done, a physician generally diagnoses a patient with probable or possible Alzheimer’s.

When it comes to diagnosing this health condition, a number of tests are generally conducted to arrive at an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

There is a grouping of general criteria that leads to the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. The indication of dementia must be present, and the patient must be over age 40. There must be objective deficits in two or more areas of mental functioning. If there is altered consciousness, then other issues must be explored.

Secondary symptoms or the presence of another issue that could present / account for the same symptoms must also be explored in-depth. Additionally, memory and mental functions that have steadily declined, a family history of Alzheimer’s, and significant changes in behavior or impairments in daily activity are indicative of Alzheimer’s.

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A note about An Alzheimer's Diagnosis - Process, Acceptance, Coping

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

Ruling Out Other Issues

There are a number of issues that can present with Alzheimer-like symptoms, and it is helpful to know what these issues tend to be in getting a sense of that likelihood of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Conditions of Normal Aging That Can Cause Symptoms Similar to Those Seen with Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Fatigue
  • Grief
  • Depression
  • Illness
  • Vision or hearing loss
  • The use of alcohol or certain medications
  • Too many details to remember at once (the burden of this resulting in confusion)

Conditions That Can Cause Memory Loss or Dementia

Accepting and Coping with an Alzheimer's Diagnosis

The degenerative nature of this ailment makes an Alzheimer's diagnosis especially difficult to cope with. Much like losing a loved one, experts suggest grieving the loss of one’s loved one without Alzheimer’s, and adjusting to the new idea of this person that includes the presence of the disease.

For many people, the first step needs to be acknowledging and accepting the accuracy and truth of the diagnosis, rather than choosing to greet it with denial. It is the first reaction of many people to deny something like this, but the key to moving forward is accepting what may be deemed unacceptable.

After accepting the Alzheimer's diagnosis, the next step is to be proactive - learn all you can about the diagnosis, the disease, and the intervention options available. Ask questions of your doctor about available medications, and also about non-drug interventions.

With this knowledge, the next step is to make a long-term plan for treatment and care. This may be a difficult thing to do for some people, but it is in the best interest of the person with Alzheimer’s to have these plans in place as soon as possible, to ensure the best possible outcome.

As time goes on and one is able to adjust to the presence of Alzheimer’s in his or her life, it is important to remember how many people the diagnosis affects, and to bring them on board. Include family members in decisions as much as possible, and share what has been learned about the disease. Encourage others to discuss their feelings as they move toward acceptance of the diagnosis. It is important to remember that the whole family is going through grief and loss.

After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, life goes on, but is likely to look much different than life before the diagnosis. Many people believe that this disease is one of the most difficult for loved ones to deal with, and indeed, it affects them as well as the afflicted person.

Taking steps to obtain a diagnosis of the disease is the first part of accepting the presence of Alzheimer’s in one’s life, and then the grieving process begins. Although Alzheimer’s is without a doubt an upsetting and hard disease to cope with, accepting it and looking for the “silver lining” are the best ways to cope with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

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