More than five million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and one in three seniors will die from it or another form of dementia. November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, a month set aside to inform the public of this condition and bring awareness to it in hopes of finding a cure. Not only is there currently no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, but its causes also remain unknown.
Alzheimer’s Disease is defined as the most common form of dementia, a serious brain disorder that impacts daily living through cognitive changes and memory loss. Not all memory loss is an indication of Alzheimer’s, but over half of people over 85 have it. Alzheimer’s causes nerve cells in the brain to die, making it difficult for brain signals to be transmitted properly. This disease robs people of their independence and memories and it is the most common fear in people over 55.
Symptoms usually develop slowly and worsen over time. It starts with mild forgetfulness and misplacing common items. Other symptoms include disorientation and confusion, trouble sleeping, trouble performing familiar tasks, impaired visual or spatial skills, inability to follow directions and eventually, drastic personality changes and problems with language and communication. The Alzheimer’s patient may lose motivation and initiative, becoming very passive.
There is no known cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but there are some risk factors. The primary risk factors are age, family history and genetics. However, there are other risk factors people can control to help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and other dementia. Maintaining a healthy heart, avoiding high cholesterol, watching your weight, avoiding tobacco and excess alcohol and staying active can help lower your risk. In addition, take good care of your brain by exercising it and taking supplements like Dr. Daniel Amen’s Brain Directed Supplement Solutions. Use code ECENTER95 for 15% off your supplement order.
Since Alzheimer’s has no cure, treatment for the disease varies. Upon diagnosis, Alzheimer’s patients should contact a mental health therapist. Private counseling sessions along with group therapy or a Women’s Group can help them cope and work on the behavioral changes that will result from their disease. Therapy will help the diagnosed person feel less alone and help with resulting depression.
Four medications are also approved by the FDA to treat Alzheimer’s. The drugs work by regulating neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. They may help people maintain thinking, memory and speaking skills. Unfortunately, they can’t change the underlying disease process and they aren’t effective for all patients. Eventually everyone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will need full-time care.
Fortunately, a number of drugs are being tested and research is being done to see if a cure or proper prevention can be found. This is another reason Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month is so beneficial: if we raise awareness and people donate their money, time and efforts to this cause, millions of people can be spared from suffering from this disease.