If your parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, you may assume that the diagnosis is correct and make plans based on this diagnosis. However, there are many times when Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed incorrectly or is diagnosed too soon. It is important to make sure that your loved one is not suffering from a different condition because this can influence the type of assisted living conditions that your parent should be under.
Why Patients Are Often Misdiagnosed
Half of those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease are actually suffering from a different form of dementia. The brain can experience one of five different types of lesions that produce scans that look like Alzheimer's disease, but only one actually is this condition. Patients who are misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's disease are less likely to be depressed. Also, those who are misdiagnosed have been found to have less cognitive impairment.
Determining What Condition You Suffer From
Unfortunately, doctors will never fully know if a patient is suffering from the disease until they can examine the patient's brain under a microscope. Until then, the best the doctor can do is perform a brain scan, examine the symptoms and try to predict whether the patient is suffering from dementia. Your doctor will also need to ask you questions about your mental state to make sure you are not suffering from a mental condition such as depression.
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
One treatable condition that is commonly misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's disease is normal pressure hydrocephalus. This is a condition that is treatable, fortunately. To determine whether the patient is suffering from this condition or Alzeimer's disease, it is necessary to perform a brain scan. This is something you may need to request from your doctor since several doctors will not bother to perform a scan because they believe the symptoms look too similar to other Alzheimer's cases.
Depression and Malnutrition
Those who are suffering from depression or who simply have poor nutrition may experience many of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. These are conditions that are also much easier to treat. If it turns out that your loved one does not have Alzheimer's after all, that doesn't mean that he or she doesn't need assisted living. If your loved one is struggling to cook meals and is malnourished, for example, he or she may still need assistance. But the level of care needed will be different. More info on assisted living can be found here.
Sometimes things don't work out as we have planned them to. Instead of being able to take care of your aging parent in your home for several years, it may prove to be more difficult than you first thought. I brought my mother to live with my family hoping to enjoy her final years with her, but it didn't work out well for any of us. I wasn't able to care for her the way that she deserved to be cared for. Our blog will provide you with information about making the decision to move your loved one into a nursing home.