HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Health experts advise families to be aware of Alzheimer’s symptoms in order to properly care for their loved ones.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas is one of the top states with the highest number of Alzheimer’s cases. The majority of those who are diagnosed with the disease tend to be ages 65 and older.
Dr. Gladys Maestre is a University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center.
She said it is common for people to think that aging leads to forgetfulness but said losing one’s memory is a different story.
According to Dr. Maestre, Alzheimer’s awareness is important because people tend to make fun of common symptoms such as forgetfulness and repetitiveness.
Based on experiments and clinical trials, Dr. Maestre said it is important to know that someone who is struggling does not mean that they are no longer there.
“Most patients have little windows where they can still go back to normality,” she said.
Dr. Maestre advises everyone to be careful with how one talks with someone who has Alzheimer’s because it impacts them emotionally.
“A lot of people start disconnecting from other people because they don’t want to be embarrassed,” she said.
Dr. Gabriel Diaz, a Neurologist at the South Texas Health System said Alzheimer’s continues to be researched to help those affected. However, he wants everyone to be aware that the disease is not curable and its challenges depend on the degree it is at in someone’s life.
As of now, Dr. Diaz said there is treatment available for those who are having certain experiences.
“All the treatment that we have right now is symptomatic which means that we give the patient some pills to boost their memory, to treat insomnia, sometimes we have to use medications to control hallucination,” he said.
According to Dr. Diaz, Alzheimer’s is problematic to manage when behavioral issues are present which is why he encourages proper diagnosing with a professional doctor.
He adds that Alzheimer’s patients who have diabetes or high blood pressure lead to physical signs which is why a healthy diet is encouraged to take place.
Dr. Maestre said the disease is a lonely process and understands that it is a lot of work for family members.
However, she said unity from loved ones is the best way to help those with Alzheimer’s.
“There is no better treatment than love and patience,” she said.
Dr. Garcia and Dr. Maestre said Alzheimer’s research is at its beginning and look forward to proper treatment to be available for everyone in the future.