More than 50 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer's or another type of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association. To boost your Alzheimer's awareness, take a look at the information below.
What Is Alzheimer's Disease?
Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is a broad term that refers to memory loss and other cognitive dysfunction that is severe enough to affect daily life. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse over time.
What Are the Symptoms?
According to the Alzheimer's Association, the most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is trouble retaining new information. Over time, the symptoms become worse. Other symptoms include difficulty walking and speaking, behavior and mood changes, confusion about times and places, unfounded suspicions about others and disorientation.
The person displaying these symptoms may have trouble recognizing that he or she may have Alzheimer's disease. Friends and family members often notice these symptoms before patients.
What Are the Risk Factors for Alzheimer's?
Older age is the most common risk factor for Alzheimer's, but the Alzheimer's Association emphasizes that this disease is not a normal part of aging. An estimated 200,000 Americans younger than 65 have Alzheimer's.
Although much Alzheimer's research is inconclusive, some other potential risk factors for this disease include family history, genetics, head injuries and poor heart health.
Are There Any Treatments?
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, but there are many treatments. Ongoing research continues to refine current treatments and identify potential new treatments.
Treatments for Alzheimer's disease, such as medications and behavioral interventions, currently focus on reducing the severity of dementia symptoms. Currently available treatments cannot stop the progression of Alzheimer's.
What Should I Do if I'm Concerned About a Loved One's Alzheimer's Risk?
Speak with a qualified health care provider. Your loved one's doctor can assess current cognitive function and risk factors and provide a diagnosis.