June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, a time set aside to learn more about the disease commonly referred to as the thief of a person’s mind. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder affecting millions of individuals worldwide and characterized by the gradual decline of a person’s cognitive functions, memory loss and behavioral changes. Alzheimer’s is a challenging disease that profoundly impacts individuals, families and society as a whole, which is why it is important to understand the warning signs, risk factors and progression of the disease.
The onset of Alzheimer’s disease, many times, is subtle. Those showing early signs may display symptoms, such as mild forgetfulness and difficulty recalling recent events or conversations. This is another reason why regular visits to a family practice provider are vital as men and women age. A medical provider who sees a patient regularly builds a relationship where conversations about memory loss are more comfortable.
If a primary care provider suspects a patient has Alzheimer’s disease, he or she will more than likely refer the patient to a neurologist, a physician specializing in diseases affecting the brain, nervous system and spinal cord. The Eastern Kentucky Neuroscience Center at Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) offers two board-certified neurologists, Naveed Ahmed, MD, and Ryan Owens, MD, who lead a compassionate team consisting of three nurse practitioners and several other experienced staff members, all trained in the field of neurology.
It is vital that patients with Alzheimer’s disease receive an early diagnosis. As time passes and the disease progresses, patients may find it difficult to express themselves. Memory loss becomes more severe, and individuals may struggle to recognize loved ones and things once familiar to them. In later stages, those with Alzheimer’s may require assistance with basic activities such as eating, dressing and bathing.
Providers with the Eastern Kentucky Neuroscience Center see patients on the 8th floor of the PMC Clinic building in Pikeville and at PMC clinics in Prestonsburg, Whitesburg and South Williamson.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 606-430-2208 or visit pikevillehospital.org/services/neurology/.