Alzheimer's Conference, breaking down barriers for best treatments

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The symptoms are familiar: memory loss, mood swings, and clumsiness.

Alzheimer's disease affects more than 30 million people worldwide.

"It's almost like they live in a new reality, but they still exist in ours," said Andres Sviercovich of the UCSF Fresno Alzheimer & Memory Center.

The Latino community is especially hard hit.

In the Central Valley, more than 44,000 people are living with the disease, and the victims are one-and-a-half times more likely to be Latino than other types of Caucasian.

Experts say Hispanics are more likely to suffer from other health issues like cardiovascular problems like diabetes and heart disease that contribute to Alzheimer's.

They are also a lot less likely to reach out for help.

"There's a lot of stigmas that the Hispanic community has regarding dementia because they think it's a mental disorder when it's really a neurocognitive disease," said Sviercovich.

The Central Valley Alzheimer's Caregiver and Wellness Conference is a great place to get help, and they hold the conference twice a year, once in English and once in Spanish.

On Saturday, they gave free health screenings and resources to help people think about treatment, social interaction for patients, living arrangements, and legal needs.

Action News anchor Graciela Moreno helped encourage people to take the situation seriously.

Doctors explained how to recognize when dementia is coming, so people are prepared to find the best options, not the first options, for their family members.
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