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Alzheimer's Disease - Topic Overview

Your doctor will ask about your past health and do a physical exam. He or she may ask you to do some simple things that test your memory and other mental skills. Your doctor may also check how well you can do daily tasks.

The exam usually includes blood tests to look for another cause of your problems. You may have tests such as CT scans and MRI scans, which look at your brain. By themselves, these tests can't show for sure whether you have Alzheimer's.

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease. But there are medicines that may slow symptoms down for a while and make the disease easier to live with. These medicines may not work for everyone or have a big effect. But most experts think they are worth a try.

As the disease gets worse, you may get depressed or angry and upset. The doctor may also prescribe medicines to help with these problems.

If you are or will be taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer's, start learning what you can expect. This can help you make the most of the person's abilities as they change. And it can help you deal with new problems as they arise.

Work with your loved one to make decisions about the future before the disease gets worse. It's important to write a living will and a durable power of attorney.

Your loved one will need more and more care as the disease gets worse. You may be able to give this care at home. Or you may want to think about using assisted living or a nursing home.

Ask your doctor about local resources such as support groups or other groups that can help as you care for your loved one. You can also search the Internet for online support groups. Help is available.

Learning about Alzheimer's disease:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Living with Alzheimer's disease:

End-of-life decisions:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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