NOV 13, 2017 11:44 AM PST

All you need to know about Alzheimer's disease

WRITTEN BY: Jennifer Ellis

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. As it turns out, this was a helpful forward thinking strategy to raise awareness for a disease that afflicted fewer than 2 million Americans. Today, this number has soared to nearly 5.4 million, making Alzheimer’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Go Purple this month for Alzheimer's Disease Awareness and Caregivers Month, and help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases and causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, with the majority of people developing Alzheimer's after age 65. However, an estimated 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, so knowing symptoms is helpful at any age.

The disease is progressive, resulting in gradually worsening dementia symptoms over time and eventually causing loss in the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to environmental cues. Alzheimer's has no current cure, but there are available treatments to temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort progressing to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing in the first place.

Be aware and share your knowledge with others.

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About the Author
  • I love all things science and am passionate about bringing science to the public through writing. With an M.S. in Genetics and experience in cancer research, marketing and technical writing, it is a pleasure to share the latest trends and findings in science on LabRoots.
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