Alzheimer’s disease is not just for elderly people; earlier screening recommended

If you think Alzheimer’s disease only happens to elderly people. You’re wrong.

The Alzheimer’s Association is now urging doctors to start screening their patients earlier.

Lylette MacDonald was on top of her game as a corporate trainer when she began noticing memory loss in her 50s.

MacDonald recalled an incident that made her particularly concerned, “I had an event where I was at home and I was trying to read a very important document and when I looked at it… it was gibberish. It didn’t look like a language it just looked like stuff on a page.”

That’s when she started looking into Alzheimer’s disease. MacDonald went to her doctor looking for answers after experiencing it with her parents as a caregiver.

After being turned away for stress, she started researching the disease on her own and went back to her doctor with results.

“Her reaction was, ‘well you have alzheimer’s and there’s nothing you can do. You need to get more sleep, watch your diet and just accept it’,” MacDonald said.

Like MacDonald, many with Alzheimer’s stress the importance of early detection.

The Alzheimer’s Association recently included a call to action in an annual report recommending primary care physicians to give patients cognitive assessments at their first annual wellness visit at the age of 65.

Mabel Lopez with the Dubin Alzheimer’s Research Center said, “It’s usually sitting down with a psychometrist, and we do things from learning lists, to learning stories, to playing with blocks, to playing with cards sometimes. We’re really looking at different aspects of thinking.”

For MacDonald she says more primary care physicians should be educated on the disease, “The most painful part that would’ve saved me a lot of headaches is if there was a network if the general population are physicians had more exposure to this and had more education.”

In hopes that others can catch the signs at an earlier age.

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
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