Alzheimer's Awareness Month
November serves as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month across the globe. We know how this horrible disease can affect the brain, but it remains incurable. This month is a good time to continue promoting awareness and advocating for a cure. Read on to learn more about signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and what you can do to help.
History of Alzheimer's Disease
During Alzheimer's Awareness Month, it's interesting to learn about the history of Alzheimer's Disease. Although originally discovered in 1909 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, the disease we are familiar with today wasn’t widely recognized until much later. Through the 80s and 90s, scientists found that certain mutations within brain proteins can trigger the onset of AD. In 2011, a group of experts concluded that AD is not only a syndrome of dementia, but its own progressive disease.*
Some medications can help reduce symptoms in those living with it. It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors.
Living with Alzheimer’s Disease
We largely associate AD with memory loss, which is certainly a key early sign of Alzheimer’s. But this condition also affects other cognitive functions as well, such as reasoning, decision-making, and performing familiar tasks. Since it is a progressive disease, one could live for years with AD without showing symptoms. There is no standard timeline of progression and each person with the disease will experience it differently.
The below warning signs indicate that someone may be suffering from dementia or early Alzheimer’s. Individuals must show at least two of the following signs symptoms of Alzheimer’s:
- Memory loss
- Trouble solving problems
- Difficulty with familiar tasks
- Confusing time and place
- Visual and spatial decline
- Trouble speaking and writing
- Losing items
- Worsening judgment
- Withdrawal from social engagements
- Changes in mood or personality
If you notice an aging loved one exhibiting two or more of these early signs of Alzheimer’s, get them to a doctor for further testing. Learn more about the warning signs here.
Hope for the Future
Although the causes of Alzheimer’s Disease remain a mystery, we do know that lifestyle choices can impact susceptibility to developing it. Prevention includes no smoking, regular exercise, mental stimulation, sleep, and good nutrition.
Detection of early signs of Alzheimer’s is crucial. Many medications and treatments can arrest or slow down Alzheimer’s progression, so make sure you know the signs.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource for those suffering from AD and those around them to get the assistance they need. To help support ongoing awareness and research, you can donate or join a local Walk to End Alzheimer’s.