Health Watch -- Alzheimer's Disease: Driving

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about Alzheimer’s disease and coping strategies for patients and caregivers. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may not be so obvious in the early stages, but even then, they can create a deadly danger for a person behind the wheel of a car.

Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, a neurologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the decision to take away a loved one’s car keys is a difficult one. Some danger signs to look for include the number of accidents or tickets. Other signs include driving too fast or too slow for the circumstances, getting lost or confused in previously familiar areas, mixing up the gas and brake pedals, irritability while driving, or difficulty signaling or turning. If you notice a pattern of this kind of behavior, you’re helping your loved one and everyone else on the road if you seek a medical evaluation.


November 2006

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