Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s, with someone developing the disease every 66 seconds.
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. Dementia is a brain disorder that affects communication and performance of daily activities. It’s caused by damage to brain cells. Dementia is the symptom; Alzheimer’s is the cause.
Many of us have been touched by this devastating disease. We’ve seen, or at least heard, about the heartbreaking and sometimes scary impact it has on our loved ones and friends. And we may wonder if it’s in our own future. How do we know? Unfortunately, the most important risk factors are things we have no control over, including:
- Age—Age is the greatest known risk factor. Most people with the disease are age 65 and older, with 1 in 9 people affected. As we age, the risk increases: one-third of those age 85 and older have the disease.
- Family History—If you have a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s, you are more likely to get it also. The more family members who have it, the higher your risk.
- Genetics—Scientists have found several genes that increase risk and some that guarantee the person will get Alzheimer’s (but they are rare, accounting for just one percent of cases worldwide).
- Race/Ethnicity—Older Latinos are about one and a half times as likely as Whites to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias; and African-Americans twice as likely.
Everyone will experience some typical changes as we age. However, memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, and some other signs may be indications that Alzheimer’s is setting in. Per the Alzheimer’s Association , here are some of the differences:
|Typical Age-Related Change:||Warning Sign Of Alzheimer’s:|
|Occasionally forgetting names or appointments,|
then remembering them later
|Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as forgetting
recently learned information, forgetting
important dates or events, or asking for the same
|Making occasional errors when |
balancing a checkbook
|Challenges in planning or solving problems, such
as following recipes, or taking much longer to do
something than they used to
|Needing help to record a TV show |
or use the settings on a microwave
|Difficulty completing familiar tasks, such as
driving to a familiar location or remembering the
rules of a favorite game
|Getting confused about the day of the week|
but remembering it later
|Confusion with time or place, where they are or
how they got there, or losing track of the season
or the passage of time
|Vision changes, cataracts||Trouble reading, judging distances, or determining color or contrast|
|Sometimes having trouble finding the right word |
Trouble finding the right word, calling things the
|Trouble finding the right word, calling things the
wrong name, stopping in the middle of a
conversation and having no idea how to continue,
or repeating themselves
|Misplacing things Putting things in|
unusual places, being unable to
|Putting things in unusual places, being unable to
retrace steps to find things, or accusing others of
|Making a poor decision once in a while |
Decreased or poor judgement such as paying less
|Decreased or poor judgement such as paying less
attention to grooming/personal hygiene or giving
away money (such as to scammers)
|Sometimes weary of work, family, and social obligations||Withdrawal from work or social activities, hobbies, or sports;
trouble keeping up with a favorite team
|Becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted |
Changes in mood or personality, such as
|Changes in mood or personality, such as
becoming confused, suspicious, depressed,
fearful, or anxious, and easily upset
If you notice any of these early warning signs, don’t ignore them. Make an appointment with a doctor right away. Early detection ensures the maximum benefit from available treatments, relieving some symptoms and maintaining independence longer.
Because these warning signs are so important, Meridien Research offers free memory exams. Walk-ins are welcome, or call us to schedule an appointment for a guaranteed time. A brief exam will be conducted by one of our professional staff and the results shared with you immediately, for your peace of mind.
Today, Alzheimer’s is the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed. Ultimately, increased research funding and participating in clinical studies is the best way to discover new treatments for dementia and its causes, such as Alzheimer’s. Meridien Research conducts studies at our six Central Florida clinics— Bradenton, Lakeland, Maitland, Spring Hill, St. Petersburg, and Tampa—and needs volunteers every day. Qualified study participants receive study-related care and medication at no cost, and may also receive compensation for time and travel. no medical insurance is required.
To schedule a free memory screen, or for more information on currently enrolling studies or to see if you or someone you know may qualify to participate, please contact us today at 1-888-777-8839 or check our current studies online.