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September is World Alzheimer’s Month

September is World Alzheimer’s Month. This international campaign was started in 2012 to raise awareness of the challenges and stigma that surrounds dementia. Did you know that two of every three people globally have little to no understanding of the problems that Alzheimer’s can cause?

The Facts About Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Disease is a form of dementia that causes problems with the sufferer’s memory, thinking, and can even affect their behavior patterns. 

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia: In fact, Alzheimer’s accounts for approximately 60 to 80 percent of all instances of dementia.

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging: It is a common misconception that as a person ages, they begin to “lose their mind.” This is simply not true. While it is true that those over 65 are more at-risk for the disease, it is certainly not normal. 

Symptoms worsen over time: Alzheimer’s tends to worsen after symptoms become noticeable. At the beginning of the onset of Alzheimer’s memory loss will be somewhat noticeable, but in its late stages, the disease can cause the sufferer to lose the ability to respond to their surroundings.

As of now, there is no cure: As things stand, current treatment methods can only slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. That is why it is so vital that patients are treated at the first sign of symptoms. 

Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

The warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease can be broken down into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer’s disease. Keep in mind, these signs can worsen over time.

Mild Alzheimer’s

  • Forgetfulness
  • Misplacing items in odd places
  • Poor judgement
  • Sluggishness with daily tasks
  • Repeating stories or questions
  • Increased anxiety/aggression
  • Uncharacteristic fiscal irresponsibility

Moderate Alzheimer’s

  • Loss of memories
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty reading or writing
  • Scattered thoughts and short attention span
  • Has trouble recognizing family or friends
  • Trouble completing everyday tasks
  • Delusions or paranoia
  • Uncharacteristically inappropriate behavior

Severe Alzheimer’s

  • Complete inability to communicate
  • Seizures
  • Noticeable weight loss
  • Moaning, groaning, or grunting
  • Urinary and/or fecal incontinence
  • Frequent skin infections
  • Difficulty swallowing, especially when eating or drinking

 

Get Involved

There are so many ways that you can get involved to help spread awareness and work toward a cure for Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association has outlined several ways everyone can fight against this disease:

  • Become an advocate – Urge policy makers to provide more funding for research.
  • Take Part in a Clinical Study – Those afflicted with the disease, caregivers, and family members can participate in clinical trials that may help find a cure.
  • Donate – Donations will go toward programs and services that provide support for Alzheimer’s sufferers as well as research and clinical trials. 
  • Volunteer – Volunteers are needed to help with events and office work to continue getting the word out and collecting donations.
  • Attend an Event – Events are held throughout the year to help raise money for the cause. Participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Sources:

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-signs-alzheimers-disease http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp https://www.worldalzmonth.org/ http://www.alz.org/greateriowa/in_my_community_howyoucanhelp.asp