Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Alzheimer’s Disease Week back in 1982; the legacy of that first effort finds the month of November being observed as National Alzheimer’s Disease Month.Â
“The human cost of Alzheimer’s disease is staggering”.
Â – President Barack Obama
According the Alzheimer’s Association, it is the most common cause of dementia, affecting 5.3 million Americans,Â with 10.9 million moreÂ Americans providing care for affected family members.Â Please take some time this month to think of people and caregivers you know who are struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.
American Alzheimer’s Association
This is a leading, global voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care and support, and the largest private, nonprofit funder of Alzheimer research.Â This organization, which has an excellent website, puts out a report each year about Alzheimer’s disease for the public to read.Â You can go to their website for much more information regarding Alzheimer’s disease, personal stories, and links to resources.Â Â
The most significant new information coming from this year’s reportÂ is information from the Alzheimer’sÂ Association aboutÂ African-Americans and Hispanics:
African-Americans and Hispanics are at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s.Â African-Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s than whites, and Hispanics are about 1.5 times more likely than whites to develop the disease.
In addition,Â Â this year, Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer’s Association have put out a report, entitled, 2010 Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s.Â
The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s demonstrates that women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s epidemic. According to the Alzheimer’s Association Women and Alzheimer’s Poll unveiled in the report, women are almost two-thirds of all Americans with Alzheimer’s and comprise 60 percent of the unpaid caregivers for family members and friends with Alzheimer’s. That means there are 10 million women who either have Alzheimer’s or are caring for someone with the disease. The toll Alzheimer’s has on individuals and caregivers is further compounded by the financial burden felt by families and the U.S. government.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disesase
Alzheimer’s disease can affect different people in different ways, but the most common symptom is gradually worsening difficulty in remembering new information.Â Over time, other problems can occur such as inability or difficulty to complete familiar tasks, trouble solving problems, and confusion about time and place.Â Then, trouble with speaking or writing, misplacing items, impaired judgement, and changes in mood or personality may follow.
Preventing Alzheimer’s disease
There are currently several treatments to slow the course of Alzheimer’s disease, but no cures.Â Scientists continue to endeavor to find tests and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease which will stop or reverse the progression, but in the meantime, there are things everyone can do to reduce their chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
Avoid heavy smoking
Heavy smokers who smoke two more more packs in their middle age years have double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than nonsmokers, according to a new study from Finland.Â Those who smoked two or more packs per day between the ages of 50 to 60 years old had a significantly increased risk of developing this devastating disease.Â On the other hand, those who quit smoking or smoked less than a half pack of cigarette per day did not have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Walk a mile a day
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found walkers who covered about a mile a day had greater brain volume a decade later than those who didn’t walk as much.Â Thirteen years later,Â the walkers were about half as likely to develop dementia or other memory problems, despite other risk factors like family history.Â Those who walked an average of six to nine miles a week had the greatest reduction in risk, and walking more than this did not add to the benefits.
Take the first steps to preventing Alzheimer’s disease, walk every day, and if you smoke, try to give it up or cut back.
Puzzles to Remember Charity: Distributes puzzles to Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes and VA’s.
StopSmoking: Android app to help with quitting smokingÂ