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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most publicized and well-documented conditions in medicine today but there is one aspect of this devastating disease that does not get the attention it deserves. This is the fact that caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s – often lifetime partners who have health issues themselves – have a job that is so difficult that it has been called a 36-hour day.

Caregivers do not get a break. They are forced to see their loved one mentally deteriorate while seeming to increase in levels of energy, unpredictability, irrational behavior and stress. Day after day a caregiver is faced with such a demanding task that it can lead to the caregiver developing serious health conditions themselves.

If you are one of those caregivers, realize you are not alone even though you feel you might be. Reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association, your physician or a member of your clergy and ask where you can get help.

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