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Save Your Brain: Alzheimer’s or Something Else?

Posted at 4:19 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 16:19:16-05

ORLANDO, Fla. — November is national Alzheimer’s awareness month.

More than six million Americans are living with this devastating brain disease. But did you know several conditions are often mistaken for Alzheimer’s? Knowing the difference could save their life.

Every 60 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease. But it’s often misdiagnosed. In fact, neurologist Suzanne Schindler says many of her patients with mild memory problems don’t have Alzheimer’s at all.

“In my clinic, I would say that maybe only half of the people that are presenting for the first time end up having Alzheimer’s disease.” Dr. Schindler explains.

Sleep apnea can cause problems with attention, concentration, and short-term memory.

“And they get better once they get treated.” Dr. Schindler further tells Ivanhoe News.

Normal pressure hydrocephalus might look like Alzheimer’s. With NPH, extra fluid in the brain causes symptoms like trouble walking, thinking problems, and loss of bladder control. Other conditions that may be mistaken for Alzheimer’s are Parkinson’s’ disease, urinary tract infections, Lyme disease, thyroid issues, depression, and a vitamin b-12 deficiency. Also be careful about the meds you take.

Dr. Schindler says, “There’s a lot of people taking medications that impair cognition.”

Pain meds, muscle relaxers, antihistamines, steroids, and sedatives are common culprits.

Vestibular disorders like vertigo, Meniere’s disease, and labyrinthitis, have also been known to cause symptoms that mimic Alzheimer’s disease.