November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, as declared by former President Ronald Reagan in 1983. When President Reagan designated November as Alzheimer's Month, fewer than 2 million Americans were living with the disease. Today, over 5 million people are living with this disease, which is a type of dementia and causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior.
In the spirit of raising awareness, let's discuss some facts that may surprise you:
- Most people are diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the end-stage of the disease. From the very first symptoms until death, the disease typically follows a 14-year course. Most people, however, aren't diagnosed until around years 8 to 10-- after lesions have already spread throughout the brain and caused irreparable damage.
- There is no cure for Alzheimer's Disease, but there IS treatment. Early detection is crucial, as treatments can help slow or prevent further damage to the brain. In addition, quality of life can be improved for patients through appropriate diet, exercise, social activities, and certain medications.
- Memory loss is never normal. Many people and physicians alike have the misinformed belief that memory loss is just a normal part of aging. That is simply not the case. While memory loss doesn't always mean that a person has this disease, it should be a cause for immediate medical attention.
- Risk factors can be managed. While there's no way to completely prevent this disease, there are some known risk factors that can be managed. These risk factors include: smoking, poor diet, lethargy, social isolation, diabetes, and head injuries. Making a conscious effort to manage these risk factors can possibly help prevent future cognitive decline.
Now that you're armed with the facts, do your part to help spread awareness during the month of November. Because November is also National Caregiver Month, be sure to reach out and thank one of the 15 million Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers out there too.
For more information on finding talented caregivers for your loved ones, please contact us.
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