Alzheimer's Specialist

Robert J. Wielenga, M.D. -  - Geriatric Physician

Wielenga Medical Group

Robert J. Wielenga, M.D.

Geriatric Physician & Family Practice Physician located in Downey, CA

Alzheimer’s disease is traumatic not only for the individuals who have dementia, but also for their caregivers, friends, and families. Although there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, its symptoms can be improved, slowing the progression of the disease. That’s why you need a doctor who specializes in geriatric care, like Dr. Robert Wielenga of Wielenga Medical in Downey, California. With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Wielenga has the expertise to treat issues related to Alzheimer’s and to offer support and guidance to family members and loved ones.

Alzheimer’s Q & A

by Robert J. Wielenga, M.D.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a range of symptoms. The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer is responsible for 60–80% of dementia cases. Although it’s often considered a disease that only affects the elderly, around 200,000 people under age 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s. What’s more, it’s the sixth leading cause of death among seniors in the United States.

Beyond memory loss, Alzheimer’s symptoms can include difficulties with:

  • Problem solving
  • Daily tasks
  • Time, place, and spatial relations
  • Conversations
  • Mood and personality changes

Those with Alzheimer’s may also display bad judgment and withdraw from those around them. There isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s, but Dr. Wielenga can treat its symptoms.

How does Wielenga Medical diagnose Alzheimer’s disease?

If you’re concerned that someone you love may have Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to see a doctor who understands the disease. To diagnose Alzheimer’s, Dr. Wielenga does a complete medical assessment. This can include:

  • Thoroughly examining medical history
  • Evaluating mental status and mood
  • Performing physical and neurological examinations
  • Administering blood tests
  • Using brain imaging technologies

Once Dr. Wielenga rules out other causes of dementia, he may proceed with Alzheimer’s treatment.

It’s essential that patients get seen and evaluated as soon as possible once Alzheimer’s disease is suspected. Early diagnosis can help prolong independence and lead to more treatment benefits.

What is the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but Dr. Wielenga can treat the disease’s symptoms. By using a combination of medication and treatment interventions, Dr. Wielenga may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and to increase the patient’s quality of life.

He may prescribe medications to reduce memory loss and other cognitive abnormalities. Dr. Wielenga may prescribe cholinesterase inhibitors, which enhance cellular communication by increasing the quantity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. These medications can improve the patient’s mood, decreasing agitation and depression.

Dr. Wielenga may also prescribe memantine, which further improves cellular communication. Taken along with cholinesterase inhibitors, he prescribes memantine once the disease is considered moderate to severe.

Depending on the patient’s specific needs, Dr. Wielenga might recommend other medications. These include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anxiolytics
  • Antipsychotics

He may also recommend other interventions to ensure a safe and supportive environment. Creating a routine and minimizing the need for memory recall are essential for both patients and their caregivers. Exercise and nutrition keep the body as healthy as possible and could improve some cognitive functions.

If you or someone you love may have Alzheimer’s disease, schedule an appointment today. Dr. Wielenga, with his 20-plus years of experience, can be that much-needed support to aid you through the process, stand at your side, and help you decrease the suffering of a loved one who must endure this distressing disease.

*Individual results may vary