Alzheimer’s Caregivers Often Fear Contracting the Disease

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by Ray Burow |

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A wise man once said, “No one by worrying can add one inch to their height.”

Constantly worrying about acquiring an admittedly horrible disease may be useless, but it also is common practice for caregivers. Our intimate involvement in the daily processes of a disease, and seeing how it affects our loved ones affects us, too.

We live in fear of contracting Alzheimer’s disease. A misplaced purse or set of keys, a forgotten birthday, and other similar things can send us reeling. “Is this a sign?” we’ll ask ourselves. “Am I facing a similar fate as my parent?”

There’s no way of knowing for certain, but it is easy to ruin today by worrying about tomorrow.

A better response

Inform your physician if your family has a history of Alzheimer’s disease. Make positive lifestyle changes to fend it off, such as eating a healthy diet and following an exercise regimen. Diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep at night may produce positive results in forestalling Alzheimer’s, along with other healthy practices.

Of course, there are no guarantees. But spending a nanosecond worrying about whether it will or won’t happen only robs today’s joy.

A woman whose mother contracted breast cancer should be cognizant of the disease and her possible vulnerability to it. She should periodically perform self-exams, searching for a telltale lump. A mammogram certainly would be in her future.

Likewise, a man who has lost his father to colon cancer would be sure to schedule a colonoscopy at the recommended intervals to stay on top of prevention or early detection.

If you’re at risk of developing a disease, it simply makes sense to stay abreast of medical advancements related to that illness. Do that, but don’t waste time wringing your hands and worrying about whether your life will end due to Alzheimer’s. As you prepare meals, wash laundry, or kiss your loved one goodnight while peering into their eyes, avoid thinking, “This could be me one day.” Don’t waste good moments on the fear of future ones that may never occur.

Positive steps

Instead of concentrating on if and when you’ll contract Alzheimer’s disease, face the possibility head-on. Speak with a medical professional, particularly one that specializes in dementia diseases. A neurologist will determine your status through testing. Don’t be afraid of being diagnosed.

If it’s determined that you’re at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, or if dementia is present, then an early diagnosis becomes very important. It will play a significant part in staving off the disease or having it advance quickly.

Finally, if you emerge from the grocery store and can’t remember where you’ve parked your car, don’t tumble into the abyss of fear. Everyone forgets now and then.

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Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.

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