In 1983, President Reagan declared November to be the national Alzheimer’s disease awareness month. Alzheimer’s disease affects over 5 million Americans today, compared to less than 2 million when November was first termed the national awareness month. It is important to know and be able to recognize the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s as this is a growing disease in our nation. Let us look at some important facts and information that can expand our knowledge on Alzheimer’s disease and help us to increase awareness.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia affecting one’s memory and other cognitive functioning. Most early symptoms begin with the part in our brains responsible for learning. These early symptoms can include trouble completing everyday tasks, confusion over location/time, difficulty with problem solving and in speaking or writing words, and changes in social ability. Click here to see a list of 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease [https://www.alz.org/national/documents/tenwarnsigns.pdf.] Alzheimer’s is a continuous disease that worsens overtime, and is broken into three stages based on the severity of the disease: mid, moderate and severe Alzheimer’s. Symptoms progress from the minor loss of remembering new names, to forgetting your own history, to loss of awareness of surroundings and inability to care for oneself.
Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed through a medical assessment and can include a physical and neurological exam as well as specific brain imaging. There currently is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease but there are medications available to help ease the development of the symptoms. Today Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and therefore there is a lot of ongoing research dedicated to it. Help us spread awareness!