Punctuality is a virtue, but when it comes to the diagnoses of illnesses and diseases like dementia, being prompt is not only highly recommended, it can even be crucial to your health and well-being. Dementia is no different.
Studies have shown that as many as half of people with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias go undiagnosed. Even though there is currently no treatment or cure that can alter the underlying cause of the condition, early detection allows for more room to seek medical advice and let caregivers make adjustments for a better quality of life before it gets to an advanced stage.
The theme for the upcoming World’s Alzheimer’s Month is “Remember Me”, which highlights the lack of information people generally have for dementia and emphasises the importance of early detection and diagnosis. Here are some advantages of why early diagnosis is key.
Symptoms may be reversible
While dementia is not treatable, symptoms that are caused by the condition may be reversible. The deficiencies of certain vitamins like omega-3 and vitamin B12 are known to cause symptoms of dementia, and through early diagnosis, the timely and appropriate treatment can be administered to stop or impede the rate of decline caused by dementia.
Early diagnosis is more accurate
With persons with dementia dealing with memory loss and mental deterioration, the diagnosis process can be more thorough and accurate when done in the early stages, when the person with dementia still retains most of his mental faculty and can answer questions and respond more readily.
Planning ahead becomes easier
Many persons with dementia only become aware of their condition when the ravages of the disease have reached a severe level, preventing them from structuring their lives effectively and attaining their goals. Early diagnosis gives persons with dementia and their loved ones the opportunity to reprioritise their time together to bond and make memories. Unwise decisions like making financial commitments, moving away from family members, or postponing a catch-up session with friends can also be avoided.
Educate and advocate
If your loved one with dementia gets diagnosed early, it can help to reduce the misconception that the disease only afflicts people in the twilight of their lives. It can also prove that people with dementia can still remain active and functional members of society rather than a burden to loved ones. Families can also learn more about the disease and develop greater understanding and realistic expectations.
About World Alzheimer’s Month
The annual World Alzheimer’s Month (WAM) is an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma. It’s a global movement united by its call for change and reflection on the impact of dementia, a disease that will affect more and more people as the years pass. Held on 21 September every year, this will be the sixth edition of the event and is marked by events held by Alzheimer’s associations and others in over 70 countries worldwide, including ADA.