I recently saw a screaming, large-type headline about a woman who was supposedly “cured” of Alzheimer’s. Only one thing wrong with that, of course – there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. Turns out that this woman had been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and she actually had a rare thyroid condition that can sometimes mimic the characteristics of Alzheimer’s.
In another “false positive,” one of my employees recently told me that her grandmother had started displaying symptoms of dementia. I advised her to have her grandmother tested for a urinary tract infection. And, indeed, that’s what it was. (I’ve been doing this for a long time!)
Alzheimer’s now affects nearly 6 million Americans…some of them at surprisingly-young ages (like University of Tennessee Women’s Basketball Coach Pat Summit, who was diagnosed at 59). And experts are saying that, by the year 2030, the number of people with the disease will double.
Did you know, though, that “Alzheimer’s” and “dementia” are not necessarily the same thing? Alzheimer’s accounts for only 70% of dementias…not all of them!
Some forms of dementia, believe it or not, can be caused by physical illness, such as vascular dementia, strokes, Parkinson’s, medications that don’t interact well together, urinary tract infections, fluid on the brain, thyroid or other endocrine illnesses, or metabolic problems. And there may be other hidden villains, as well, that only an extensive series of medical tests can reveal. So, if the doctor calls it dementia, perhaps you should consider a battery of tests to make sure. Misdiagnoses – especially for senior citizens – can result in tragedy.
If you’ve got questions about dementia or Alzheimer’s, we’ve got the answers. For one thing, we’ve got one of the largest Alzheimer’s/Dementia resource centers in South Florida. And for another, we’re Elder Law attorneys.
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve been answering questions about Alzheimer’s and dementia – and a host of other senior-related issues – for 33 years. And we’ve helped thousands of South Florida families come up with answers to other questions, as well…questions such as comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, and assistance with Medicaid or the VA.
We can answer your questions. And we’re just a phone call away.
Is It Dementia? Or Is It Alzheimers?