BUFFALO, N.Y. (September 19, 2023) — This Thursday, September 21, is World Alzheimer’s Day. It is part of a global effort to raise Alzheimer’s disease awareness, which is more important than ever.
For the first time, there are two FDA-approved treatments to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s. Leqembi and Aduhelm both target one of the underlying causes of the disease and can give people more time to be independent, work, enjoy family milestones, and plan for future care. But both treatments are for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, meaning early detection is more important than ever.
The Alzheimer’s Association has information on early warning signs and what to watch for in yourself or loved ones at alz.org/10signs. While some memory lapses are normal, if the memory of thinking issues disrupt daily life, it’s time to talk to a healthcare provider. Here are some signs to consider:
- Forgetting a few items on your grocery list is normal, but forgetting how to get home from your normal grocery store is not. Confusion with places and navigation can be an early sign of memory problems.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks like cooking a recipe you make often or getting dressed is also a cause for concern. A normal part of aging might be needing some help setting up a new app. It’s not unusual to need help with new things, but forgetting regular routines is not a normal part of aging.
- Another warning sign is personality changes such as becoming suspicious, angry or easily confused in ways that are out of the ordinary. Normal aging might be getting annoyed when someone interrupts your routine.
The earlier you get diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other memory issues, the more treatment options you will have. Early diagnosis can also mean eligibility for clinical trials of potential new treatments. The goal is for everyone affected by the disease to receive the most benefit from current and future treatment options at the earliest point possible.
If you notice a warning sign and want help with next steps, the Alzheimer’s Association has a 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900. They can help navigate difficult conversations with family, prepare for a doctor’s appointment, and find local resources.