How much do you know about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
Although those are popular words we often hear, two out of three people globally believe there is little to no understanding of dementia in their country. Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) founded the annual September campaign, World Alzheimer’s Month, to raise awareness for dementia and challenge the misunderstood stigma surrounding it.
What is Dementia?
Simply put, dementia is the umbrella term for a wide range of thinking and social symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. Dementia is caused by damaged brain cells that can’t communicate with each other anymore, causing changes in thinking, memory, behavior, and emotion.
10 Warning Signs of Dementia:
- Memory loss
- Disorientation to time and place
- Changes in mood and behavior
- Problems keeping track of things
- Struggling with images and spatial relationships
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Trouble speaking
- Poor judgment
- Misplacing things
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
World Alzheimer’s Month
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, and it accounts for 50-60 percent of all dementia cases. Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s, and there are currently 5.8 million Americans living with the disease. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but support and treatment are available and can help.
To better understand Alzheimer’s, we’re breaking down some of the most popular misconceptions about the disease.
Alzheimer’s Myths debunked
1. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are the same thing
Like the term, “every square is a rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares,” the same can be said for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia, but not all dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. There are over 100 different forms of dementia, with Alzheimer’s being the most well-known.
Be sure to ask your doctor these questions if you’re not sure what kind of dementia your loved one has.
2. Memory loss is just part of aging
A slight decline in memory can be expected as you get older, but generally, your cognitive functioning remains steady with age. A healthy older person doesn’t experience memory loss about basic things like where they live, or what their name is, the way someone with dementia does.
3. You’re not supposed to tell someone they have dementia
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than half of people with Alzheimer’s disease are not told their diagnosis. Although it may be easier in the moment to withhold that information, your loved one has a right to know about their diagnosis. And the earlier they’re informed about Alzheimer’s, the more plans they can set in place for the future.
4. Only older people get dementia
While dementia is most frequent among the elderly, early-onset dementia affects 200,000 people in the United States. Early-onset dementia is most often experienced by people in their 40s and 50s, as opposed to the common forms of dementia found in people 65 years and older.
5. Dementia is purely genetic
There is a higher risk of developing dementia if your parents have it, but not everyone who has a family history of dementia will develop it themselves. In fact, one study found that nine major contributors to Alzheimer’s disease were all modifiable by health and lifestyle choices.
Kyle ER & Hospital encourages you to check in with your older loved ones during World Alzheimer Awareness Month and educate yourself on the disease that affects so many people worldwide.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Kyle ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
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