Dr. Mehmet Oz announced that his 80-year-old mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, calling on people to take preventative action.
He said his mother is beginning to “forget simple things,” he told Fox News on Sept. 9.
The celebrity doctor who hosts the “Dr. Oz Show” told People magazine that he is “frustrated and mad” that his mother, Suna Oz, got Alzheimer’s.
“I’m feeling guilty because I completely missed the signs until fairly late in the process,” he said.
The doctor said that he and his two sisters noticed irregularities in the actions of their mother, saying she had trouble speaking.
“If the right word was, ‘You look beautiful today,’ she would use, ‘You look pretty prettier today.’ I missed those clues,” Oz explained to the magazine. “Alzheimer’s is like a snake in the grass. You don’t see it. You only see the effects of it suddenly. And if there’s a wind blowing the grass, you don’t even notice the grass moving strangely. It sneaks up on you.”
He added that his sister noticed their mother dressing in an unusual manner.
She then began acting in an irrational manner.
“The stubbornness transitioned from just her being an opinionated person to, ‘Hey, that’s dangerous medically. I can’t let you do that’,” Oz said.
He said that there are some 6 million people in the United States with Alzheimer’s. Another 16 million are taking care of them.
“When we have a population where so many of us are already at risk and so many of us are going to live nice long lives, we don’t want to have a nation of Alzheimer’s patients. … You’ve got to diagnose the problem in a timely fashion or we don’t have a chance,” Oz told Fox, adding that one in four Americans have the gene that leads to the disease.
He said that losing weight may be a preventative measure, adding that “if you have a big belly then it means you’re going to have a small brain, which leads directly to cognitive dysfunction.”
Oz also said that women can “start doing preventive work” for their child.
“The earlier you intervene on the child, the less of a chance you’re going to have a problem as you get into older age,” he said. “We’re making some progress with new drugs, but that’s not where the solution is going to be. The solution is going to be preventing the problem.”