Early detection can slow the disease's onset and greatly improve quality of life, both for patients and their loved ones. Take some time this November to arm yourself with knowledge.
What is it?
Alzheimer's disease is named for Dr. Alois Alzheimer, whose research first brought the condition to light in 1906. The most common type of dementia, Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain disorder that involves progressive memory loss, difficulty thinking, and behavioral problems. Over time, these symptoms can grow severe enough to interfere with daily life.
But just because you often forget where you put your keys doesn't mean you're suffering from Alzheimer's. What differentiates Alzheimer's from normal signs of aging? If you're concerned that you or someone you know may be displaying symptoms, read about the 10 Signs of Alzheimer's or take an online class to learn what to watch for and when to talk to your doctor.
The recently released Shriver Report, a study by Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer's Association, states that 65% (3.3 million) of Alzheimer's sufferers and 60% (6.7 million) of Alzheimer's caregivers in America are women. The report estimates that by mid-century, 8 million American women will be diagnosed with the disease.
What you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones
As of yet, there is no cure for Alzheimer's. But research suggests that regular physical exercise, a healthy diet, an active social life, and a challenged mind can all contribute to decreasing your chances of developing the disease and to slowing its progress once it starts. The Alzheimer's Association's website provides information on current research and tips to reduce your risk.
Where to go for more information, support, and activism