5 Myths about Alzheimer’s Disease
In honor of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, we thought we would clear up some common myths that surround this disease that affects more than 5 million Americans. There is currently no way to prevent or cure this disease, but researchers are learning more every single day. It is important for individuals to be educated about Alzheimer’s in case this disease affects them, a family member, or someone they know.
- Alzheimer’s disease only affects the elderly.
While Alzheimer’s disease is more prominent in adults age 65 or older, they are not the only ones affected. A small percentage of the population – around 5% to 10% – develop younger-onset Alzheimer’s. It may take longer to diagnose because symptoms are attributed to other causes. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are around 200,000 Americans living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s.
- Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented or slowed.
There are rumors about aluminum, aspartame, vaccinations, head injuries, and other issues causing Alzheimer’s, but these are often unproven. Scientists have not yet pinpointed an exact cause or methods for prevention. They believe that it is a combination of genetics and environment. And while medication and lifestyle changes can help ease symptoms and improve quality of life, there is no way to slow progression of the disease.
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are the same.
Dementia refers to a broad range of neurological symptoms, some of which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most prevalent disease under this umbrella. While individuals with Alzheimer’s have dementia, not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer’s. Dementia also encompasses Lewy Body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington’s disease, Vascular dementia, and other conditions.
- Memory loss is a normal part of aging.
While it is normal to experience occasional forgetfulness or trouble remembering as you age, memory loss that interferes with your daily life and ability to function is not normal. Individuals with Alzheimer’s often repeat the same questions over and over again. They may become easily disoriented or forget where they are or where they are going. Confusion and forgetfulness make it difficult to carry out everyday tasks or routines and keep track of appointments.
- Alzheimer’s disease can be fatal.
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The body eventually begins to shut down and people may lose the ability to walk, talk, stand, swallow, and care for themselves. They often become more susceptible to illnesses such as pneumonia which can be very hard on the elderly. As brain cells die, individuals are no longer able to interact with the world around them as they once did and lose function.
While dealing with Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging, it often brings families together and helps them to focus on the positives in life and spending quality time together before the disease progresses. There are also resources available such as in-home care through Always Best Care to provide assistance and support with daily activities. Caregivers are specially trained in working with individuals with Alzheimer’s and helping to enhance their quality of life. Find out if Always Best Care is right for your aging parent by calling (855) 470-2273 to schedule a free consultation.