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World Alzheimer's Month
Posted by Scott filed under Alzheimer's
September is World Alzheimer’s Month. Alzheimer’s is a serious condition that affects a person’s memory and behavior. Hundreds are afflicted with it and thousands more see it cause their loved ones suffering. World Alzheimer’s Month is a campaign started by Alzheimer’s Disease International to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and end the stigma associated with it and other types of dementia.
Alzheimer’s and dementia are not enjoyable topic; many associate a stigma surrounding the conditions making it all the harder to talk about. Because of this, many people lack a basic understanding of the disease, and never gain the knowledge. Some basic facts to know are:
- Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia
- Alzheimer’s is caused by brain cell death
- Alzheimer’s primarily affects people above the age of sixty-five, but it isn’t limited to just this age group. There are thousands of people who develop early onset, or younger onset Alzheimer’s earlier in life, before they turn sixty-five.
- Alzheimer’s does not just happen one day; it’s a progressive disease that progresses over several years. Most people go eight years without their symptoms becoming noticeable to those around them. The disease usually starts off with mild memory loss, but it can get to a point where the person with the disease cannot hold a regular conversation.
- There are some treatments for Alzheimer’s that can delay the worst symptoms, but only delay; Alzheimer’s has no cure. If you suspect you or a loved one may have the disease, you reach out and get professional help as soon as possible.
The symptom most easy to spot is memory loss, forgetfulness, or mild confusion. People with Alzheimer’s might also:
- Repeat the same question over and over
- Forget conversations or events
- Misplace their things, often in places that make no sense
- Get lost in places that should be familiar
- Forget the names of family and close friends
- Be unable to respond to everyday problems
- Be unable to do common tasks such as cook or cleaning
- Eventually, they may forget how to do simple things such as dressing or bathing
People with Alzheimer’s also experience mood and behavior changes, often exhibiting things such as depression, social withdrawal, apathy, distrust in others, and delusions. To learn more about symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, you can visit the Alzheimer’s Association Website.
As of now, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s. Current approaches include managing behavioral symptoms and attempting to keep a person’s mental functions up and running for as long as possible. There are also several prescriptions drugs used to treat different stages of the disease, but each medicine and dosage depends on the person. To learn more about medicines used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, visit the NIH Website.
Risk Factors and Prevention
We know that decaying brain cells is the cause of Alzheimer’s, but there are also several risk factors you should know:
- Aging is the most obvious one, as most people develop Alzheimer’s when sixty-five or older
- A family history of Alzheimer’s
- Repeated traumatic brain injuries
- Exposure to things like pesticides and industrial chemicals
Looking at the risk factors and symptoms for Alzheimer’s raises one important question: can anything be done to stop the development of the disease? There are some things that have been shown to lower to risk for the disease, such as:
- Regular exercise
- Maintaining a healthy cardiovascular (heart) system
- Keeping a healthy diet
- Staying mentally and socially engaged
How to Get Involved
An incurable disease like Alzheimer’s can make a person feel powerless and scared, but there is something most everyone can do to help. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is an annual event made to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s care and research. They tell us that the event is “[h]eld annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.” To learn more, make a donation, or find a Walk near you, go to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Website.
Disclaimer: The information on this article and links contained therein are intended to provide information only and should not be used for diagnosing or treating any medical condition. If you are concerned about your health or suspect you may have an untreated disease or condition, please seek the advice of a medical professional.
Walk to End Alzheimer’s. (2020). This Year’s Walk is Everywhere. Retrieved from: https://act.alz.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=walk_homepage
Alzheimer’s Association. (2018). What Is Alzheimer’s? Retrieved from: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers
Koch, Kristin. (2015). 25 Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. Retrieved from: https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20416288,00.html
MacGill, Markus. (2018). What’s to know about Alzheimer’s disease? Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159442.php
National Institute on Aging. (2018). How is Alzheimer’s Disease Treated? Retrieved from: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-alzheimers-disease-treated