To raise awareness of the Alzheimer’s Disease, Longwood at Oakmont, a Presbyterian SeniorCare Continuing Care Retirement Community in Plum, recently hosted Dr. Len Lecci, Director of Clinical Services at MARS Memory Health Network, for a seminar entitled, “Understanding Alzheimer’s.” During the educational seminar, approximately 100 greater Pittsburgh area seniors and caregivers were enlightened about the most common type of memory diseases and ways to detect early warning signs.
“According to the Alzheimer’s Association, since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer’s has risen 68 percent, while deaths from many other major diseases, such as heart disease, breast cancer, stroke and HIV, have all decreased,” states Lindsay Coulter, Senior Sales Coordinator at Longwood at Oakmont. “The first step in changing the future of Alzheimer’s disease is creating awareness. As a community dedicated to the health of the greater Pittsburgh area seniors, we deemed it a priority to educate our community about this life changing disease.”
During the event, Lecci educated the attendees about common memory diseases and the typical side-effects of them. He focused his discussion on Alzheimer’s Dementia, which is the most common type of memory disease. Lecci explained that memory loss, as well as loss of processing speed or verbal function, are typical warning signs of this type of memory disease. Diagnosis of memory diseases can be extremely difficult to detect since there are very little physical symptoms displayed. Even when the Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed, it is often too late to take preventative measure as the diseases’ development rate precedes diagnosis by at least a decade.
“Although the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Dementia is difficult, multiple studies have been completed to pin point early detection signs,” says Lecci. “These signs can include Mild Cognitive Impairment or asymptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, where the patient will develop memory complaints and localized impairment. It is important to be aware of these signs in order to realize early the development of Alzheimer’s in yourself or a loved one.”
Dr. Lecci also reviewed the costs of dementia with attendees, and explained that the future of testing could lead to detection one month earlier, which could save the United States an estimated $1 billion annually. It is recommended to undergo memory testing for everyone who is 55 or older, but especially to those who:
- Have a family history of dementia
- Have type II diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Have or suspect CNS dysfunction (stroke, tumor, etc.)
- Are using medicine that may effect a cognitive or behavioral change
To maintain a higher quality of life longer, Lecci recommends undergoing testing and being proactive in order to catch the disease at a stage when it can be treated with medication to slow the progression. Without formal testing, memory loss will typically go undetected until the disease becomes severe. “Taking the steps now can add years of life later,” stated Lecci.
For more information regarding Alzheimer’s prevention, please visit www.longwoodatoakmont.com/info.