It’s Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month! According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 50 million are currently living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month is all about learning more about Alzheimer’s and the impact it has on our brains.
What is Alzheimer’s?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life.”
Facts About Alzheimer’s
- Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 percent to 80 percent of dementia cases.
- The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older.
- Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease (also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s).
- Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
- On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis but can live as long as 20 years.
Difficulty with memory is the most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s. According to the National Institute on Aging, “Decline in non-memory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may signal the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.”
After Alzheimer’s has advanced, more severe symptoms can begin to develop, including:
- Behavior and mood changes
- Confusion about events, places, and time
- Unfounded suspicions about family, friends, and professional caregivers
- Serious memory loss
- Difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking
What You Can Do
Choosing to make healthy life decisions can help improve your overall chances of reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. Some examples are:
- Regular Excercise: You can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s up to 50 percent with regular exercise, like cardio, walking, or yoga.
- Social Engagement: Engaging with family and friends can improve your overall happiness and result in a decrease in stress.
- Healthy Diet: A healthy diet, including brain healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and fish, can improve your concentration and memory.
- Mental Stimulation: Just like physical exercise, mental stimulation can build your brain to perform stronger.
- Quality Sleep: Sleep is essential for brain health, therefore try aiming for 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Stress Management: You can manage stress with meditation or relaxation to reduce your stress levels.
To raise awareness for Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, purple is the official color for the movement! Show your support by going purple and using #ENDALZ and #EndAlzheimers! For more information, check out the Alzheimer’s Association.
6 Pillars of Brain Health – Food & Nutrition. (2019). Retrieved from https://healthybrains.org/pillar-nutrition/.
Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet.
Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia-aging/preventing-alzheimers-disease.htm.
What is Alzheimer’s?. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers.