- Dr. Oz recently opened up about his mother's diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.
- The Dr. Oz Show host admits to feeling guilty because he didn't recognize the signs of the progressive disease earlier.
- Dr. Oz encourages others to speak up and seek help if you think you or a loved one is struggling with their health, even if it's hard to face the truth.
If even Dr. Mehmet Oz missed the classic signs that his 81-year-old mother, Suna Oz, has Alzheimer's disease, it may be both a lesson to be easier on yourself if you have aging parents and a reminder to speak up if you notice something awry.
"Hearing the official diagnosis was devastating," he revealed in an article on his website. "But just as painful for me was the realization that the signs were there all along—I had just been overlooking them."
Dr. Oz initially attributed his mother's symptoms—like "doing her makeup differently for the first time in 60 years" and "giving some of her belongings away to people she barely knew"—to age-related cognitive decline. "But these seemingly subtle changes were in fact the first indicators of Alzheimer's," he said.
The irony is that Dr. Oz, a longtime physician who hosts The Dr. Oz Show, covers disease and health-related concerns like Alzheimer's on a weekly basis, which is why he told People that he feels "frustrated and mad" at himself for not recognizing the signs.
"I talk about Alzheimer's disease a lot. We discuss the risk factors often on the show. We update viewers on new prevention tips and what doctors know about new treatments for the disease," he said. "But when it came to my own family, I completely missed the signs of one of the most feared diseases that currently affects at least 5 million people in the U.S. That number is expected to nearly triple by 2060."
A form of dementia, Alzheimer's gradually damages the brain in a way that results in memory loss, poor judgement, and changes in personality slowly over time. Often, the early signs can be subtle and hard to miss.
"Alzheimer's is like a snake in the grass. You don't see it. You only see the effects of it suddenly," Oz told People in an interview. "And if there's a wind blowing the grass, you don't even notice the grass moving strangely. It sneaks up on you."
In his mother's case, her natural stubbornness began to increase in a way that was irrational, which alarmed the family and prompted them to seek help. "The stubbornness transitioned from just her being an opinionated person to, 'Hey, that's dangerous medically. I can't let you do that,'" he told People.
She also started to lose her memory. "She's aware, but she's forgetting some things," he said. "Daphne [Oz's daughter] had a baby girl 20 days ago and I called mom to tell her. She knows Daphne, but she couldn't quite process that Daphne had a child."
The Oz's took Suna for testing, and her doctors confirmed an Alzheimer's diagnosis. Suna moved to Turkey to live with one of Oz's sisters, and Oz continues to cope with the news of her diagnosis. He has an important message for others who have loved ones struggling with illness.
"The biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves. It was painful to admit that my mother's health was declining, but doing so allowed us to get her help as soon as possible," Oz said. "You have the power to speak up and say something if you suspect any of the above symptoms in a loved one. Doing so may be uncomfortable, but it just might help slow down the Alzheimer's progression in someone you love."
"As Season 11 of The Dr. Oz Show gets underway, I want to relay an important message: The power that one person holds is immense," he said. "Early intervention is the key to Alzheimer's prevention and slowing down its progress. And it only takes one person to say something."
Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here. For added fun, follow us on Instagram.
Dr. Oz Says He Missed the Signs of His Mother's Alzheimer's Diagnosis, Source:https://www.prevention.com/health/a28967542/dr-oz-alzheimers-diagnosis-mom-symptoms/