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Did You Know? Serious Concussions Raise Alzheimer’s Risk

Alzheimer’s Care Tips Saint Cloud FL

Alzheimer’s CareConcussions are a major concern to all who have a family member with Alzheimer’s disease. Risk factors for getting Alzheimer’s include age, family history, mild cognitive impairment, and gender, as women are more likely to get Alzheimer’s than men. Past head trauma is also a risk factor for getting Alzheimer’s, especially severe concussion. When a person has more than one of these risk factors, they are more likely to get the disease, raising the concern for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Patients showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease are experiencing memory loss, decreased cognitive ability, speaking ability, and decreased reasoning ability. When a patient has a severe concussion, symptoms include concentration and memory problems, slurred speech, fatigue, irritability, and depression. When the part of the brain has healed from the concussion, some of the symptoms may remain indefinitely depending on the severity of the concussion. It is believed Alzheimer’s disease could be a delayed response to an earlier concussion.

Caregivers of a patient with a prior severe concussion should be aware of any signs indicating their loved one may have Alzheimer’s disease. Patient’s showing signs and symptoms of memory loss should be evaluated by a physician. Physicians involved in diagnosing Alzheimer’s may include a family doctor or general practitioner, a neurologist, and a psychiatrist. Testing will include the following:

  • Medical examination to determine if there are any other causes for symptoms of Alzheimer’s
  • Mental health testing to rule out a mental illness
  • Lab work or blood tests to rule out any disorders in the body causing symptoms of Alzheimer’s
  • Brain scans or MRI’s of the brain, also known as (magnetic resonance imaging)

People with a prior history of a severe concussion would benefit from testing even without symptoms of Alzheimer’s, due to their risk factor of getting Alzheimer’s. Older women who have had a previous concussion would benefit greatly from testing, as they contain three of the known risk factors of getting Alzheimer’s. Although there are no specific tests to determine whether a person will get Alzheimer’s, there is much evidence to proving a prior concussion may lead to Alzheimer’s.

Once diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, your loved one may be in the mid-stages. The early stages don’t always exhibit obvious signs the disease has started. Consider hiring Alzheimer’s home care, so you don’t need to worry about your parent leaving the stove on, wandering outside and getting lost, or having difficulty with the activities of daily living.

Comfort Keepers of Saint Cloud FL is dedicated to helping seniors maintain full, independent lives where they most desire to live: in the comfort of their own homes. Call us at 407-891-8884.

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Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

Editor in Chief at Approved Senior Network
Valerie is a Registered Nurse and long-term care expert. She has published 4 books on caring for aging adults and is the Editor in Chief of HomeCareDaily.com and ApprovedSeniorNetwork.com