April 26, 2016 – Comorbidity


Anchor lead: How do other illnesses affect care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease? Elizabeth Tracey reports

It costs billions of dollars to treat the coexisting illnesses of someone who has Alzheimer’s disease, a recent large study in the UK found, most of which could be managed much less expensively if they were recognized earlier.  Constantine Lyketsos, an Alzheimer’s disease expert at Johns Hopkins, concurs.

Lyketsos: Someone with dementia is just as likely if not more likely to have other health conditions but they are much less good at treating them, and they are certainly much less good at expressing the symptoms in a classic way. So what ends up happening is these conditions don’t get picked up, they don’t get treated and so the medical system sees them in more advanced forms, oftentimes in an ED or a hospital as opposed to in the primary care office, where they can be picked up and managed earlier.   :29

Lyketsos says he always talks with caregivers about avoiding common colds, making sure all immunizations are current, especially annual flu vaccines, and being on the lookout for urinary tract infections in those with Alzheimer’s.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.