Talking to Your Doctor About Alzheimer Disease
You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with Alzheimer disease (AD). By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can make the best choices for you and your family.
Tips for Getting Information
Here are some tips that will make it simpler for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to provide more details to the doctor.
- Write down your questions so you do not forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help if you need it.
- Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
About Your Risk of Getting AD
- Does my health history, family background, or lifestyle put me at risk?
- What are the first signs and symptoms?
About a Diagnosis of AD
- What does the diagnosis mean?
- Do I need more tests?
- How certain is this diagnosis?
- How long will it take before symptoms get worse?
About Treatment Options
- What can be done to ease the problems I have?
Which medicines are right for me?
- What does this medicine do?
- What benefits/side effects will I have with it?
- Will this medicine cause problems with the medicines, over the counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I take right now?
- Can I join any clinical trials?
- Are there any complementary or alternative therapies that may help me?
About Lifestyle Changes
What plans should my family and I be making about:
- My future health plans
- Legal issues
- My living situation
- How long will I safely be able to drive, work, or live alone?
About Your Outlook
- What changes in mental capacity will I have over time?
- What changes in behavior and function should my family and I expect over time?
- How long will it be before family and friends can no longer help care for me?
Alzheimer dementia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/alzheimer-dementia. Updated August 9, 2019. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Alzheimer's disease medications fact sheet. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-medications-fact-sheet. Updated April 2, 2018. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Atri A. The Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Spectrum: Diagnosis and Management. Med Clin North Am. 2019 Mar;103(2):263-293.
Mendez MF. What is the relationship of traumatic brain injury to dementia? J Alzheimer’s Dis. 2017;57(3):667-81.
What is Alzheimer's? Alzheimer’s Association website. Available at: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD Last Updated: 10/30/2020