Alzheimer's AwarenessJune is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.  Most of us know someone with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia.  Symptoms of the disease usually begin with memory loss, but eventually involve the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, language, and reasoning skills.  Alzheimer’s impacts a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks and activities, including the ability to communicate.

The main risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age.  Symptoms may begin to appear around age 60.  Women are twice as likely as men to develop Alzheimer’s, primarily because they live longer.  A family history of the disease may also increase the risk.  Researchers are studying other possible risk factors such as having high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

The Alzheimer’s Association lists 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life – This may include forgetting recently learned information such as dates, appointments, or events.
  • Difficulty in planning or solving problems – There may be challenges managing finances, paying monthly bills, or following a recipe.
  • Trouble completing familiar tasks – Examples may include getting lost driving to familiar places or having difficulty running familiar errands.
  • Confusion with time and place – The person may lose track of dates or the passage of time.
  • Difficulty understanding visual images and special relationships – This may lead to difficulty reading or judging distances.
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing – The person may struggle to find words or follow conversations.
  • Misplacing things – They may be unable to retrace steps to find things. Others may be accused of taking items.
  • Decreased or poor judgment – There may be difficulty making decisions or making poor decisions.
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities – There may be a loss of interest in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed.
  • Changes in mood, personality, or behavior – Examples may include confusion, fear, suspicion, or depression.

Understanding Alzheimer’s Awareness

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s.  Treatment includes managing and slowing down symptoms and helping those affected maintain their mental function.  If you notice some of these changes occurring in a loved one, make an appointment to discuss them with their doctor or contact RMD Primary Care. Alzheimer’s awareness is key for treating symptoms.