World Alzheimer’s Day
The month of September is World Alzheimer's Month and the 21st of September is recognized around the globe as World Alzheimer's Day. This day comes as is the international campaign every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. September 2020 will mark the 9th World Alzheimer's Month. The campaign was launched in 2012.
Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain. Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia, but there are many kinds.
Alzheimer's: The facts
An estimated 44 million people worldwide, 747,000 Canadians and 70,000 British Columbians are living with Alzheimer's or another dementia.
1 in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has Alzheimer's disease or related dementia.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of mental decline or dementia.
Mild memory loss is common in people over the age of 60. This will not necessarily mean that someone has Alzheimer's Disease.
Alzheimer's disease gets worse over time, but how quickly this happens varies. Some people lose the ability to do daily activities in the first few years. Others may do fairly well until much later in the disease.
Women are more susceptible to Alzheimer's.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease. But there are medicines that may slow symptoms down for a while and make the disease easier to live with. These medicines may not work for everyone or have a big effect. But most experts think they are worth a try.
Alzheimer's: The Symptoms
For most people, the first symptom of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss. Often the person who has a memory problem doesn't notice it, but family and friends do. The person with the disease may also know that something is wrong.
Symptoms of Alzheimer's get worse slowly over time.
Have trouble making decisions.
Be confused about what time and day it is.
Get lost in places you know well.
Have trouble learning and remembering new information.
Have trouble finding the right words to say what you want to say.
Have more trouble doing daily tasks like cooking a meal or paying bills.
Deteriorated social behaviours
Lack of emotional control (mood swings)
A person who gets these symptoms over a few hours or days or whose symptoms suddenly get worse needs to consult with their healthcare team. Whether or not someone has Alzheimer's, seeing a doctor will identify any health conditions or chronic diseases that may be preventing you from speaking, thinking or doing your daily activities.
Dementia may be overwhelming not only for those who have it but also for their caregivers and families. The impact on caregivers, family, and society can be physical, psychological, social and economic.
Having a healthy lifestyle can lower your chances of developing Alzheimer's disease.
In addition to exercise, other healthy habits, like eating a well-balanced diet, limiting alcohol consumption and refraining from smoking, can reduce your risk of dementia. Multiple studies show that the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fish, fruit and legumes, provides vitamins and nutrients that promote cognitive and cardiac health. Drinking alcohol should be done in moderation, as excess consumption can damage cognition and lead to dementia, as can smoking cigarettes.
Always seek assistance from your healthcare team whenever you have concerns about Alzheimer's or any other chronic disease.
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This blog post was done in partnership with our good friends at Pacific Coast Health Services