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July 9, 2008 > Understanding Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease

Understanding Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease

Learn More About Alzheimer's at Upcoming Seminar

"Do I have a car?"

Momentary memory lapses happen to all of us, and they are generally no cause for concern. When memory loss is severe enough to have a serious impact on a person's ability to work or manage everyday activities, however, it may be a sign of Alzheimer's disease.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, as many as 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease. This progressive and fatal brain disorder is the most common form of dementia. It gradually destroys a person's memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities. As the disease progresses, the individual also may experience behavior and personality changes such as anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, as well as delusions or hallucinations. In late stages of the disease, individuals need help with basic functions such as dressing, eating and personal hygiene.

To help people in the community learn more about simple memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, Washington Hospital is hosting a special Health & Wellness seminar on Tuesday, July 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. The seminar will be held in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.

At the seminar, professionals from the Northern California Alzheimer's Association will cover topics such as:
* Warning signs of dementia.
* Differences between dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
* Risk factors and diagnosis.
* Advice for caregivers.
* Tips for maintaining optimal health.
* Community resources for Alzheimer's patients and caregivers.

Although the causes of Alzheimer's are not completely understood, increasing age and a family history of the disease are factors that seem to play a role. In addition to pronounced forgetfulness, common symptoms of Alzheimer's include confusion, getting lost in familiar places and difficulty with language. Diagnosis usually involves a thorough medical examination as well as tests to assess memory and brain function.

There currently is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, but new treatments may temporarily delay memory decline. Certain drugs used to treat other illnesses, such as depression, may sometimes help with emotional and behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer's.

Another important aspect of treatment is to provide support to caregivers, since Alzheimer's can create a heavy burden for the people who must care for a loved one with the disease. To help Alzheimer's patients and their families or other caregivers cope with the disease, Washington Hospital also offers an Alzheimer's/Caregivers Support Group. The self-help group, which is always open to new members, meets the last Wednesday of every month from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Room A, in the Washington West building located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. The next meeting will be held on July 30.

To register for the upcoming seminar or to join this free support group, please call Health Connection at (800) 963-7070. For more information about the Northern California Alzheimer's Association, as well as comprehensive information about the disease, including its causes, symptoms and current treatments, you may visit their Web site at

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Seminar: Understanding Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
When: Tuesday, July 15
Time: 1 to 3 p.m.
Where: Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.
Call: Health Connection at (800) 973-7070 to register

Washington Hospital
Tri-City Voice article re: Alzheimer's

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