LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The ability to think clearly and remember everyday tasks can be things most people take for granted but it can be a daily struggle for those with brain disorders.
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. More than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s but only 45% of them actually get diagnosed. Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem solving or other thinking abilities.
It’s not the occasional forgetting of your car keys, it’s the more severe kind of forgetfulness that interferes with daily life.
There is a basic test, brain scan and blood test conducted before diagnosing someone with a brain disorder. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia.
Typically, it takes someone else recognizing the early signs that something is wrong.
“Most of the time, at least early on, the symptoms are noticed by the family and not the patient. Frequently, when I see a patient in the office who comes in worried saying ‘I think I have Alzhiemer’s,’ they don’t. But if they are brought by another family member that’s when it’s usually more worrisome. It’s almost like they forget they are forgetting,” said Eric Farbman, associate professor of neurology as Roseman University.
Some of the common early signs are difficulty with complicated tasks that you don’t do often or are not part of your routine like managing a checkbook.
There is a very active local chapter here of Alzheimer’s Association which is a great resource if a loved one or spouse is recently diagnosed.