PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A focus on diagnosis and early detection is the theme this year for "World Alzheimer's Day" today.
Nearly 600,000 people in Florida are diagnosed with Alzheimer's, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
Dr. Sophia Ahmed is a local neurologist at St. Lucie Medical Center.
She said one of the biggest misconceptions with Alzheimer's is patients tend to ignore the symptoms early on and will often attribute them to old age.
She explained some of the early warning signs include being unable to complete simple tasks, misplacing objects,unable to make decisions and changes in personality.
Although Alzheimer's is a disease that tends to get worse with time, she advises there are several steps patients can take to lower their risk and slow the progression.
-Increase physical activity
-Learn new skills
She also stressed the importance for family members to get involved if they have a loved one who is experiencing symptoms.
"So the family members have to be really aware of the situation and you know, it doesn't hurt to talk to the doctor, you know, bring it up, that these are the changes we are noticing," said Ahmed. "A lot of times the person themselves are in denial. They are not going to accept that this is a problem, and the moment you remind them or tell them they get belligerent, and they don't like you anymore. So it is a very fine line the family is walking."
To learn more about Alzheimer's click here.