This diagnosis is personal for Dr. Mehmet Oz.
The host of "The Dr. Oz Show” is seeing things from a patient’s point of view as he grapples not only with his mother’s recent Alzheimer’s diagnosis but also with his own revelation that he too carries one of the genes for the disease.
Oz’s mother, Suna Oz, 81, started behaving irregularly after his father died in February, he told People. But he and his sister didn’t connect them with the brain disorder right away.
There were subtle signs, such as her struggle to find words, Oz told People, while his sister noticed she was dressing oddly.
“I’m feeling guilty because I completely missed the signs until fairly late in the process,” Oz said.
The progressive brain disorder known as Alzheimer’s causes brain cells to waste away, eroding a person’s memory and functioning, as the Mayo Clinic defines it. Eventually it proves fatal.
The signs are not always obvious, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, but there are 10 clear signals that warrant medical evaluation.
Memory loss that disrupts daily life is a major one, especially “forgetting recently learned information,” the association says. So is forgetting important dates or events, or asking for the same things over and over.
Oz, 59, noted that the birth of his granddaughter for instance, didn’t seem to register with his mother.
New problems with words is another sign, the association says, which fits with something Oz noticed about his mom: “If the right word was, ‘You look beautiful today,’ she would use, ‘You look pretty prettier today,’ ” he told People.
Suna Oz also started becoming irrational along the lines of the personality changes that the Alzheimer’s Association says can be another symptom.
After Oz learned that his mother had the disorder, he discovered his own potential to develop it.
“That was shocking,” he said. “I guess you don’t expect it. But from my perspective, my mom gave me a great set of cards to play life with and she taught me how to play those cards. But she gave me one bad card and I can’t throw that card away, I’m stuck with it.”