- Alzheimer and Brain Awareness Month
- What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
- Symptoms: 7 Signs of Early Alzheimer’s Disease
- Stages: The 5 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Ways To Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- Ways To Help
Alzheimer and Brain Awareness Month
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Over 55 million people have Alzheimer’s or have another type of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association is wearing purple for the whole month of June in order to raise awareness and inspire more people to join their fight. However, do you truly know what Alzheimer’s is and how it can affect you? Read on to learn more.
What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
Dementia Definition: A general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities. Alzheimer Definition: A progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. It affects brain cells and connections between them that degenerate and die, which in turn destroy memory and other important functions. Difference: Dementia is a broader term, like an umbrella where many things fall under, Alzheimer being the most common. Dementia is a general term, while Alzheimer’s is a specific brain disease. Other types of dementia include Vascular Dementia, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Lewy Body Dementia. There are several others, but these are the main ones.
Symptoms: 7 Signs of Early Alzheimer’s Disease
- Memory loss that affects daily life This means forgetting conversations or events that have happened and not being able to remember them later.
- Loss of problem solving abilities Trouble following anything with multiple steps, like recipes.
- Confusion about times and places Forgetting your way home or getting lost in familiar places is common. You also have no perception of seasons or time, which results in more confusion.
- Limitations with language Forgetting words, having trouble reading, and losing track of conversations as they are happening.
- Misplacing things They would be unable to retrace steps and might accuse others of stealing their belongings when they cannot find them.
- Poor judgment Trouble managing money, cannot keep clean on their own, and can make unwise decisions and risks.
- Personality changes Withdraw from others, become impulsive or irritable, and in some cases may become aggressive.
Stages: The 5 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Preclinical Alzheimer At this stage you won’t notice symptoms and this stage can last for years. The only way to know you are in this stage is through newer imaging techniques like biomarkers and genetic tests.
- Mild Cognitive Impairment In this stage you have mild changes in memory and thinking abilities. Other symptoms include having a harder time with multi-step assignments, making decisions, and trouble with time.
- Mild Dementia This results in memory loss of recent events, changes in personality, getting lost and losing things, and difficulty problem solving.
- Moderate Dementia This leads to increasingly poor judgement, more confusion and memory loss, and significant changes in behavior and personality.
- Severe Dementia In this last stage you wouldn’t be able to communicate coherently, you would need daily assistance with personal care, and there would be a high decline in your physical abilities.
Even though there are several stages, the rate of progression through these stages vary. On average, people live between 3 to 11 years after their official diagnosis but some can live up to over 20 years. Even though the stages can be scary, there are medications and treatments that doctors can recommend in order to slow down the progression if its caught early enough.
Ways To Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia
While there is no cure for dementia, there are ways to lower your risk of developing it. Alzheimer’s and dementia affect the brain, more specifically the hippocampus. The hippocampus is what helps with your memory, but this part of your brain can shrink over time, which is why this results in impaired memory. However, studies have shown that there are ways to help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. Adults who are fit and regularly exercise are at a lower chance of developing it. Using your brain continuously can also help, challenging your brain to solve things as simple as crossword puzzles and Sudoku daily can help exercise your brain. There are also certain diets that are rich in brain healthy foods that help, some include green tea, dark chocolate, and red wine. There are also certain health factors that are associated with a higher risk of dementia like obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Regardless of what you chose to do, try to at least do one of these things daily in order to keep your brain healthy and happy.
Ways to Help
There are several organizations that are dedicated to helping Alzheimer’s Disease and raise awareness about dementia and brain conditions. Right now there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and that is because we are not too sure what causes it. While we have learned that it can be related to genetics and age, we are still working on a cure to help. Therefore, donating money to these organizations can help them accelerate research to find a cure. This money also helps take care of Alzheimer’s patients who need around the clock care. You can even become a volunteer an help people who have been affected with dementia. Another way to help is to spread awareness and become an advocate in your community to make Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness a national priority. People do not realize the amount of people who are affected by this. Many people have come out to talk about how Alzheimer’s have affected them and their family. One example is Oscar Nunez, one of the stars from the popular show “The Office.” Both his grandmother and his father have been diagnosed with either Alzheimer’s’ or a type of dementia. This also goes for famous actor Peter Gallagher and Laurie Hernandez, a very famous gymnast. People all over the world are coming out and raising awareness and you can join in on the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease, too.