(Memphis) It happens slowly, forgetting things and over time forgetting people.
Susan Crowson, with the Alzheimer's Association of the Mid-South, went through it with her own dad years ago.
"When my brothers came to town, my dad wanted to know who they were. They were his own children and he didn't recognize them," says Crowson.
Initially the doctors didn't recognize her dad's condition thinking it was just old age.
Misdiagnosis is not uncommon.
A new report says 30 percent of the time, doctors get it wrong, saying a patient has Alzheimer's when the patient really does not.
Duke University Alzheimer's specialist Dr. Murali Doraiswamy told the CBS morning show doctors make mistakes, "It's not just family doctors who misdiagnosis, experts can. I am considered an expert and I have misdiagnosed it. There are more than 100 conditions that can mimic Alzheimer's."
Conditions that doctors may call Alzheimer's, could actually be, small silent strokes, depression, vitamin deficiency, medication side effects or alcoholism.
"We teach individuals to look for those, rule those out first and then time will tell because Alzheimer's type dementia is long-term process," says Crowson.
In the meantime, doctors say new technology is being developed to get better images of the brain and a better understanding of what is an isn't Alzheimer's.
The Alzheimer's Association of the Mid-South is holding its annual Alzheimer's Walk fundraiser Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 9am at Shelby Farms Park.
For information on it call 1-800-272-3900.