7 Things You Might Not Know About Alzheimer’s Disease

Misinformation contributes to the stigma associated with mental illness. Learning about Alzheimer’s disease gives you a better understanding of the disease, and it can help people get the appropriate medical care that they need.

Alzheimer’s disease is common.

It is the most common form of dementia, and it is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

According to the most recent figures released by the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.8 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, and roughly one-third of seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

It is a progressive disease.

A progressive disease gets worse over time. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease may begin with mild memory loss and eventually progress to the point where a person loses the ability to communicate and carry out daily activities.

The disease causes physical damage to the brain; changes in the brain may occur more than ten years before cognitive problems appear.

A family history of Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t mean that you will develop the disease.

Having a family history of the disease increases your risk, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Fewer than seven percent of Alzheimer’s disease cases are an inherited form of the disease.

Age is the most significant known risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Most cases of Alzheimer’s disease affect people over 65 years of age. The disease doesn’t just affect the elderly, however. About 5 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease develop symptoms before the age of 65, or early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Most people who develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease are in their 40s or 50s, but in rare cases the disease can affect adults in their 30s.

Memory loss alone does not indicate Alzheimer’s disease.

It can get increasingly difficult to remember and recall information as you get older. However, Alzheimer’s disease is more than just being forgetful or having some memory problems. A person who has Alzheimer’s disease becomes increasingly dependent, and loses the ability to care for themselves, as the disease progresses.

Alzheimer's disease isn't a normal part of aging. Early detection and treatment can help slow or delay the progression of the diseases. Click To Tweet

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging.

Alzheimer’s disease is more than just having a bad memory. Signs of Alzheimer’s disease include

  • changes in personality or mood
  • severe memory loss — a person with Alzheimer’s may forget names of friends and family member
  • getting lost, or losing items, and not being able to retrace steps
  • difficulty carrying out routine and familiar tasks, such as  paying bills, handling money, and maintaining hygiene
  • decrease in judgement or decision making

You can live a meaningful life after diagnosis.

Treatment can help slow or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, help people maintain mental function, and improve their quality of life.

Early detection and treatment are crucial because Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease. Contact your primary care doctor if you think that you or a family member may show signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis — whether the problem is Alzheimer’s disease or some other health issue — so that you can get the care you need when you need it.