Talking to Your Doctor About Alzheimers Disease

You have a unique medical history. It is important to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with Alzheimers disease. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to provide helpful information to the doctor.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
  • Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for Alzheimers disease?
  • What are the first signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?
  • What does the diagnosis mean?
  • Are additional tests needed?
  • How certain is this diagnosis?
  • What can be done to alleviate symptoms?
  • Which medications are best for my condition?
    • What does this medication do? Does it alleviate symptoms, slow progression of the disease, etc?
    • What benefits/side effects will I experience with this medication?
    • Will this medication interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking for other conditions?
    • Are there any clinical trials that I might be able to participate in?
  • Are there any complementary or alternative therapies that may help me?
  • What plans should my family and I be making right now regarding:
    • Provisions for future healthcare
    • Finances
    • Legal issues
    • Living situation
  • How long will I safely be able to drive, work, or live alone?
  • What changes in mental capacity can be expected over time?
  • What changes in behavior and functioning should my family and I expect over time?
  • How long will it be before family and friends can no longer provide the necessary care?
  • Are there any resources available for my family and friends here at this institution?

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References

Alzheimers disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated July 11, 2012. Accessed August 22, 2012.

Alzheimer's disease medications fact sheet. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/Publications/medicationsfs.htm. Updated July 2010. Accessed August 22, 2012.

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