Lifestyle & Human Interest

Dr. Oz Opens Up About Missing Signs of His Mother's Alzheimer's Disease


Television personality and health guru Dr. Mehmet Oz announced Monday that his mother has Alzheimer’s disease.

Along with the devastation of finding out the news, Oz expressed regret that he had completely missed some of its early signs.

In a Sept. 9 post on Instagram, Oz shared that it took him a long time to recognize the symptoms for what they were.

“I recently found out that my mom, Suna, has Alzheimer’s disease,” he shared, also posting the same message on his blog. “Hearing the official diagnosis was devastating. But just as painful for me was the realization that the signs were there all along — I had just been overlooking them.”

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He said that while he had noticed some changes in his mom, he explained them away as just natural progressions given his mother’s character and stage in life.

“When my mom’s stubbornness increased, I simply blamed it on her getting older,” he said. “My sister noticed she started doing her makeup differently for the first time in 60 years, but kept it to herself.”

“When my mom started giving some of her belongings away to people she barely knew, I thought she was just trying to lighten her load following my father’s passing. But these seemingly subtle changes were in fact the first indicators of Alzheimer’s.”

While Oz found his mom’s eventual diagnosis difficult to bear, he emphasized to others that recognizing the signs sooner rather than later can make all the difference.

“You have the power to speak up and say something if you suspect any of the above symptoms in a loved one,” he wrote. “Doing so may be uncomfortable, but it just might help slow down the Alzheimer’s progression in someone you love. Visit the link in my bio to read my mom’s story, and to learn the 6 early symptoms you should never ignore.”

His website outlines the major signs of Alzheimer’s, including “difficulty completing tasks,” “confusing time and place,” “trouble understanding visuals,” “misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps,” “challenges in planning” and “problems with words.”

While occasional lapses are simply part of being human, a consistent decline in these areas is a classic sign of Alzheimer’s.

“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 wrote.

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While there is more in-depth testing available for people to find what their chances are of having the disease later in life, there are also steps people can take now to improve their overall health and minimize their chance of Alzheimer’s, according to Oz.

“Try daily exercise w/interval training for brief spurts: Scientists have found that 6 weeks of intense exercise — short bouts of High Intensity Interval Training(HIIT) — showed significant improvements in what is known as high-interference memory,” he shared.

The doctor also suggested that people monitor their cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, as keeping those levels in healthy ranges can decrease your likelihood of suffering from the debilitating disease.

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