It’s More Than Memory Loss: Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
A well-known disease, Alzheimer’s affects millions of people of all ages with varying severity. Though not preventable, Alzheimer’s is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. It’s important to stay aware of the symptoms and risk factors to protect you and your loved ones.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s “is a type of disease that causes issues with memory, thinking and behavior.” Thinking, reasoning, making judgements and decisions, and even changes in personality or behavior could be affected by the condition. Some symptoms develop slowly and in later stages of life or others may get worse over time.
What are some risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease?
Staying aware of the symptoms and how they may relate to you or your loved ones may prevent undiagnosed and unmonitored symptom development.
- Age The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s increases with growing age.
- Family History & Genetics If a “first-degree” relative has the condition, you have a higher risk of developing it.
- Down Syndrome Likely related to 3 copies of chromosome 21, symptoms tend to appear 10-20 years earlier in people with Down Syndrome.
- Sex There are more women with the disease because they generally live longer than men.
- Past Head Trauma Severe head trauma sufferers have a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Poor Sleep Patterns Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep are associated with an increased Alzheimer’s risk.
- Lifestyle & Heart Health Following a healthy lifestyle of exercise & a healthy low-fat diet may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Smoking and other underlying health conditions may increase risk.
How is Alzheimer’s diagnosed?
Doctors may conduct tests to assess any memory impairments while testing other thinking skills, judging functional abilities, and identifying any behavior changes. Doctors may also perform a series of tests to potentially rule out other causes of these symptoms.
Only a medical doctor can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, so if you or a loved one show symptoms of the disease, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
Does Culbertson offer programs for those affected with Alzheimer’s or other health conditions?
Yes! Culbertson Memorial works to expand our high-quality services to better serve more of our patients. If you or a loved one are showing potential symptoms of Alzheimer’s, schedule an appointment with your trusted provider team at Culbertson Memorial Hospital.