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19 Interesting Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia in senior citizens. The disease is found to affect older adults above the age of 40 years. If you’ve ever played the role of caregiver to an Alzheimer’s disease patient, you will agree with me that managing this disease is a difficult and humbling experience for those involved.
Alzheimer’s disease is alarming. However, you can manage it with special care. But you need to know some of the interesting facts about Alzheimer’s that’s affecting the lives of many seniors around the world. With this knowledge, you’ll know where to start providing the care to your elderly loved one that they need to live with comfort and dignity.
Here are 19 interesting facts about Alzheimer’s disease.
- More Than 5.4 Million Americans Have Alzheimer’s Disease, Yet Approximately More Than Half Aren’t Aware of It.
It’s quite difficult to detect the signs of Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage where the elderly suffer from mild cognitive impairment. Without the proper knowledge, most people with Alzheimer’s may live for along time without being diagnosed.
- Early Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Can Develop In People As Young As 30 Years
When we hear of Alzheimer’s disease, we only associate it with older people. However, it’s reported that more than 10% of the Americans living with AD developed the early-onsets of the disease when they were in their 40s and 50s. The symptoms can as even show up in eople as young as 30 years old.
- Alzheimer’s Disease Is One of The Leading Causes of Death of Seniors in the US.
Alzheimer’s has grown to become a common threat to the lives of the elderly population living in the United States and most other countries. It’s feared that it’s the 6th leading cause of deaths in the United States and the 5th leading cause of death in seniors aged 60 and over.
- Alzheimer’s Impacts Are Not Only Limited to Patients But Also Extend To The Caregivers.
The caregivers attending to the elderly living with Alzheimer’s have increased chances of developing emotional and mental stress, physical strain, interpersonal/familial issues, depressions, and financial problems.
Besides, the personality changes and communication difficulties of the elderly with Alzheimer’s puts an incredible strain on caregivers.
- Over 15 Million Caregivers In America Freely Care For Elderly With Alzheimer’s Disease
Most Americans are unpaid caregivers of their elderly loved ones with AD or other forms of dementia. These caregivers freely provide over 80% of the care needed by AD patients at home.
- Cases of Alzheimer’s Disease Develop After Every 68 Seconds.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s are living for a long time. However, Alzheimer’s disease seems to have become a plague in the United States. This follows the fact that in America, new cases of Alzheimer’s are found to develop in every 68 seconds. It’s even feared that by 2050, Alzheimer’s disease incidence will rise to develop one new case in every 33 seconds.
- More Than 75% Of Alzheimer’s Patients Are Women.
Alzheimer’s disease affects more women than men. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 75% of Americans with AD disease are women. The explanation behind this is that on average women live longer than men.
- About 50% of Adults Over 85 Have Alzheimer’s Disease
Based on the Alzheimer’s Association report, it’s estimated that over half of seniors aged 85 and above suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, 13% of the people aged 65 years have the disease.
- Alzheimer’s Disease Occurs In Stages
Alzheimer’s doesn’t come all of a sudden. The disease comes in a steady progression that’s organized into stages;
- Normal stage
- Normal aging forgetfulness
- Cognitive impairment
- More severe memory impairment
- Extreme forgetfulness of basic activities
- Basic functioning becomes dependent
- The Cost Of Treating Alzheimer’s Is Extremely High
It’s estimated that over five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. With such a high number of patients, the disease treatment costs continue to rise every day. In 2016, the general cost of treatment had risen to over $216 billion.
- People with Alzheimer’s Lose Their Sense of Smell
Patients with Alzheimer’s are found to lose their sense of smell. Additionally, The National Institute of Health suggests that loss of sense of smell can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.
- Patients with Alzheimer’s Have Varied Life Expectancy
The progression of Alzheimer’s disease varies from patient to patient. It’s therefore difficult to predict how long a patient with Alzheimer’s disease will live. According to The National Institute on Aging, an older senior with Alzheimer’s usually live for three to four years. Younger patients may live for over 10 years or more.
- Alzheimer’s Was Discovered and Named In The Last Century
The disease was named after a German doctor whose name was Alois Alzheimer, who first observed the condition in 1906. The doctor was attending to a patient who exhibited symptoms of memory loss and other thinking problems.
When the patient died, Dr. Alzheimer observed that some parts of the patient’s brain seemed shrunken. In 1910, the disease was named after Dr. Alzheimer.
- Alzheimer’s Has No Known Preventions or Cures
Alzheimer’s disease is almost unique among the many causes of death. The condition has no known methods of prevention or curing. However, medications can greatly help manage the symptoms and some lifestyle choices can help reduce your risk or some forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Education Lowers Your Risk of Getting Alzheimer’s Disease
Reports by the National Institute of Aging suggests that the more educated you are, the lower the chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
You can lower your risks of getting AD by keeping your brain active by learning languages, taking classes or doing group activities.
- There’s A Close Relationship Between Your Heart and Your Head
Patients with heart diseases have increased chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Some conditions known to raise your risks of developing heart diseases are also attributed to higher risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Some of these conditions include;
- Poor diet
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- A New Form Of Alzheimer’s Disease Is Linked To Genetics
Doctors have confirmed that Familiar Alzheimer’s disease is linked to genes. It has been observed that in families with affected individuals, there might have been members of at least two generations who have suffered from the disease.
- There’s No Definite Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease
The exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease are still unknown. Research has shown that insomnia may cause cognitive problems. However, it’s not clear whether poor sleeping habits can cause Alzheimer’s disease or any side effects. While obesity could be linked with increased risks of the disease, we still need to consider that genetics are also linked to the condition. So, it’s unclear on which of these factors leads to Alzheimer’s.
- Most Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease Often Have Other Chronic Conditions
The majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease are diagnosed with some other serious health conditions. For instance, in the US, about 60% of those with the disease have coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. Health experts even suggest that these illnesses may trigger the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Knowing these facts, caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s may no longer be a challenge. However, it’s advisable for you to provide home care services to the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease with proper care.