Is my COPD mother's odd behavior related to possible Alzheimer's?

Sarag asked...

My mother has severe COPD. I am noticing more and more Compulsive/Obsessive behavior as well as some memory loss. How do you tell if this is Lack of Oxygen or Alzheimer's?

Expert Answer

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

The only way to tell if your mother with COPD has symptoms of Alzheimer's is to have a neurological evaluation performed in a hospital setting. People who have other disease entities, such as COPD, may also develop Alzheimer's or one of the other related diseases. An evaluation of her behavior and your reporting the changes you have witnessed along with specific areas of testing can offer a more concrete diagnosis. She may need to be followed over the course of the next few years to monitor the changes in her cognition and behavior to better understand what is happening. Do discuss your mother's memory loss and compulsive/obsessive issues with the physician who diagnosed the COPD; he may confirm these manifestations as part of COPD or he may suggest further evaluation.