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Remembering National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Don’t forget to remember those who might be forgetting during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

In 1983, just under 2 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease. President Ronald Reagan saw the disease as a pressing issue for the American population, and declared November National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983.

Today, just over two decades later, almost 5.4 Americans have Alzheimer’s. As modern medicine makes it possible for us to lead longer and longer lives, we’re only going to see more cases of Alzheimer’s. In other words, we need to figure out how to live with the increasing prevalence of this disease.

For some of us, that might mean working to keep our brains sharp as we age to fight against dementia. It might be considering long term care insurance to protect our families from the cost of a caregiver. It might be finding our own caregivers, or thanking the ones we already have for his or her role in our lives.

  • Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
  • Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer’s (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s.
  • Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.
  • Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues.Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.

However we may  be commemorating and mindfully honoring National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, The Maria Sanchez Show will be joining the challenge as we take our own individual steps during this important month.

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