Alzheimer’s disease impacts both men and women, but senior men are more likely to be misdiagnosed than senior women. The symptoms men experience often go unnoticed, which makes it challenging for doctors to diagnose Alzheimer’s. Here’s a closer look at the reasons this disease is often difficult to diagnose in men.
Differences in Development
Alzheimer’s develops in men at a younger age compared to women. Men can begin experiencing early-onset Alzheimer’s in their 60s, whereas women don’t typically encounter the disease until their 70s, 80s, and even their 90s. Therefore, family caregivers and doctors aren’t looking for symptoms associated with the disease at this earlier age. Instead, they tie the symptoms to other age-related health conditions.
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Lack of Warning Signs
Men experience changes in their behavior, including their mobility and language skills. As the disease sets in, the symptoms become less obvious to doctors. Men don’t always encounter the most notable factor of Alzheimer’s disease, which is memory loss. Family members are less likely to believe their father has the disease if his memory is still intact. Keep in mind there’s no blood test or imaging examination that can diagnose this disease. Instead, doctors rely on symptoms to diagnose Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease affects men faster than it affects women. With females, it takes longer for Alzheimer’s to attack the brain’s cortex. The disease takes over the brain and targets the hippocampus in men faster than it does with women. This causes more men to die from Alzheimer’s disease without being properly diagnosed.
No Guaranteed Testing Methods
Doctors can’t accurately test for Alzheimer’s disease until after a person has died, when they can use a microscope to closely monitor the brain. Since doctors cannot test for Alzheimer’s disease, they look for similar symptoms of conditions they can test for. For example, Alzheimer’s disease could cause your loved one to lose physical functionality during the day and night, which could make him or her feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and groggy. However, these symptoms are also associated with skin infections, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. If your loved one has one of these infections, his or her doctor may rule out Alzheimer’s disease even though the disease may have begun to develop.
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Lack of Doctor Visits
It’s important for senior men to see their family doctors multiple times a year. Failing to do so could lead to a misdiagnosis or allow cognitive decline to happen at a faster rate. Lack of doctor visits is one of the reasons men are harder to diagnose with Alzheimer’s disease.
Women typically visit their doctors on a regular basis, even if they’re not injured or living with illnesses. However, men generally wait until they’re ill to go visit their family doctors. To maintain good health and prevent Alzheimer’s disease from progressing at a faster rate, your loved one should visit his doctor to receive a diagnosis as well as a good treatment plan.
The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. San Diego Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at 858-667-0813.