Fiona Phillips launches ‘Memory Problems?’ project

A new campaign entitled ‘Memory Problems?’ has been launched by ex GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips to help people recognise the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and distinguish these from the normal changes that occur with ageing.

The campaign’s aim is to reduce the time it currently takes from possible symptoms being noticed in a potential sufferer to them seeing their doctor. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, diagnosing and starting treatments to manage the disease early can slow its progression. Research reveals the vast majority of Alzheimer’s disease patients are initially brought to the doctor by a family member (93%).

But shockingly, the average time from symptoms being noticed to making an appointment with a doctor is 43 weeks. And almost half of patients (45%) discussing Alzheimer’s disease with their doctors for the first time are already experiencing moderate symptoms.

Delays in seeing a doctor were blamed by patients and carers on wanting to ensure symptoms weren’t temporary (38%), thinking symptoms were a normal part of ageing (36%) and, tellingly, resistance from the patients themselves (33%), according to the research by the IMPACT 2009 Global Alzheimer’s Awareness Study.

At the heart of the campaign is a website, www.aboutmemoryproblems.com, that provides practical advice and tools to help anyone concerned about memory problems in a loved one.

“Diagnosing dementia is often difficult, particularly in the early stages, but this is when it is most important,” says Professor Roy Jones from the Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE) Centre, Royal United Hospital, Bath.  “If we can diagnose and start managing Alzheimer’s Disease early, we can help patients and their families cope better with the situation. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this devastating disease, but there are treatments that may slow the progression of symptoms and these should be prescribed at the time of diagnosis.”

Article taken from Mature Times, April 2010

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