ST. LOUIS – November is Alzheimer’s awareness month and there are five common falsehoods surrounding the disease.
- ALZHEIMER’S IS JUST PART OF GETTING OLDER. FALSE!
Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative brain disorder that impacts memory, thinking, language skills, and the ability to carry out simple tasks. It’s not the same as regular age-related memory loss, such as occasional forgetfulness.
- ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE ONLY AFFECTS SENIOR CITIZENS. FALSE!
While the majority of people who develop alzheimer’s disease are over the age of 65, young-onset Alzheimer’s can affect people in their 30s or 40s. Memory problems at any age should be checked out.
- NOTHING CAN BE DONE FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. FALSE!
Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, people diagnosed can, and often do, have meaningful, active lives. They can participate in activities they enjoyed prior to the onset of Alzheimer’s to help improve their quality of life. Some medications can help manage the symptoms. The earlier Alzheimer’s is detected, the more significant the impact these interventions can have.
- YOU CANNOT REDUCE YOUR RISK OF DEVELOPING ALZHEIMER’S. FALSE!
While there is no guaranteed way to prevent Alzheimer’s, lifestyle choices can help reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Good diet, exercise, social interaction, learning new skills, proper sleep, limiting alcohol, and not smoking are all ways to promote good brain health.
- ALL MEMORY IMPAIRMENTS ARE THE RESULT OF ALZHEIMER’S. FALSE!
Alzheimer’s is a cause of memory loss, but not the only one. Vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, depression, sleep apnea, stress, and urinary tract infections can all cause memory problems. Detecting the underlying cause is the key. Memory screenings are an important first step. Results are not a diagnosis, but a memory screening can suggest if you should see a physician for a full evaluation.
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