June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia and is a degenerative brain disease. Currently, over 6 million Americans are living with the disease. Let’s get the facts straight. Here is some research from the Alzheimer’s Association that may surprise you.
- Deaths related to Alzheimer’s disease have increased by 145% in the last 20 years.
- One in three seniors dies from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
- Over 11 million Americans provide care to Alzheimer’s or other dementia patients without being paid.
- COVID-19 has increased Alzheimer-related deaths by 16%.
What symptoms are associated with Alzheimer’s disease?
The most common symptom associated with Alzheimer’s disease is difficulty remembering information, especially newer information. This is usually the first symptom in patients with the disease since the area of your brain associated with learning is usually the first to be affected.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, the symptoms become more severe, with patients experiencing disorientation, behavioral changes, paranoia, and eventually difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking.
People experiencing memory loss symptoms of Alzheimer’s may not notice the changes., These signs will be more noticeable to friends or family members. Anyone who notices memory loss symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. ABS members can use the member portal to find a doctor if this situation occurs.
Available treatments for Alzheimer’s disease
Currently, the treatments available to those with Alzheimer’s revolve around helping control symptoms. However, the latest research regarding the disease shows there may be a way to slow the progression of the disease.
The latest research has been looking at removing the plaques in the brain that are thought to cause Alzheimer’s. Doctors and scientists have yet to find a way to remove the plaques.
Can Alzheimer’s disease be prevented?
Alzheimer’s is a complex disease that doesn’t have one sole cause. Many factors contributing to this disease cannot be corrected, such as genetics or age. However, some Alzheimer’s risk factors can be controlled such as high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, social interactions, and diet, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
So, the best way to prevent Alzheimer’s is to make healthy lifestyle changes. Continuing exercise as you age, maintaining involvement in your community, and eat well will help aid in Alzheimer’s prevention long term. There is still much more to learn about this disease and much more to learn about how to treat it, but implementing these changes is a good start.