Episode 54: Shedding Light on Alzheimer’s

When we hear the word dementia, sometimes the first thing we think of is Alzheimer’s. Today, we’ll discover what dementia means and learn more about what we need to know about Alzheimer’s. Jorge Olvera, director of outreach with the Alzheimer’s Association, Houston and Southeast Texas, joins host Blanca Quezada to clarify the differences between mental health diseases often called dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Jorge discusses warning signs to look for to identify what’s happening to your loved one or yourself. He also mentions that these diseases don’t just affect the elderly but also younger adults as well.

Jorge focuses on what Alzheimer’s is, how to identify the symptoms, how the disease is diagnosed, available resources, how to access them, and how to lower our risk. He talks about research treatments, how to get involved, and what treatments are available.

Jorge shared information about their upcoming event, Houston Walk to End Alzheimer’s, happening November 4, 2023, and the need for volunteers and donations.

For more information, visit: https://www.alz.org/texas or call their helpline at (800) 272-3900.

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Timestamps (Ai-generated)

[00:01:58] Dementia is an umbrella term that covers different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Other types include frontotemporal, vascular, and Huntington’s disease. There is also mild cognitive impairment, the early stage of dementia.

[00:05:08] Mild cognitive impairment can lead to changes in emotions, social behavior, interests, and forgetfulness, such as difficulty measuring distance or time.

[00:07:46] Advances in science allow early Alzheimer’s identification through methods like PET scans and blood draws. Previously, diagnosis was only possible after death. MRI and PET scans can currently diagnose, but blood draws may hold future potential.

[00:10:06] Treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease are available but are more effective when started early. Medications can help slow down progression if identified and treated early, but cannot slow progression in later stages. Drugs can help alleviate symptoms but do not treat the disease itself.

[00:17:03] The Houston Southeast Texas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides resources for Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers, including a 24/7 helpline, (800) 272-3900, support groups in multiple languages, and early-stage social engagement programs.

[00:21:12] Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the whole family with no cure. Early diagnosis allows for planning and decision-making. Emotional challenges include frustration and embarrassment.

[00:24:05] Encourage family conversation about caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. This impacts everyone, including children.

[00:27:19] The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a series of events in the Houston area from August to November, with the Houston walk on November 4 drawing 5,000 people. It offers support, resources, and community for those affected by Alzheimer’s.

[00:30:26] Thank you, Jorge, for discussing Alzheimer’s and mental health. Don’t be alone; seek support. Thanks for joining Spotlight Houston.

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