In our last blog, we talked about Alois Alzheimer, who gave his name to the disease ravaging the brains of over 5 million Americans. He studied the brains of patients in mental asylums to discover the amyloid plaques and tau fiber tangles that are the physical markers of Alzheimer’s disease in a patient’s brain. Despite dying at the age of 52, Dr. Alois Alzheimer left a long lasting legacy by identifying the physical markers of Alzheimer’s, leading researchers on their quest to cure the disease. However, to date, there is no cure for the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, or the disease itself.
Now we’re going to take a look at a cause Landmark Memory Care supports, because as a community for those with memory issues, we care very much about the future cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and indeed for all forms of dementia and memory loss. One step we can take to help end the ravages of this disease is to participate in the Walk To End Alzheimer’s (Or Alz Walk). Landmark Memory Care is located in Lafayette, so we will be attending the August 11th Boulder, Colorado Alz Walk. For those outside Boulder, to find a walk near you, go to the Walk To End Alzheimer’s website.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s affects nearly 5 million Americans, and yet we still know only a little about the way the disease starts, and how it progresses. Symptoms usually begin to show up around the age of 60, typically starting out as mild forgetfulness that progresses to debilitating memory loss. The onset can be very quick, or it may take years for a patient to evolve from dementia to full Alzheimer’s.
Dementia is usually the first symptom of Alzheimer’s. It may start as simple forgetfulness, like forgetting to go to appointments or forgetting people’s names. These smaller symptoms are indicative of the greater disease, which inhibits the connections between nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Slowly the personality and memory of a person are changed in different ways. Some patients become very aggressive or angry, while others become depressed or withdrawn from their old ways of life. Sometimes these symptoms are very pronounced, and for other patients, they may be rather mild.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Declining Memory – Alzheimer’s destroys many parts of the memory, both short and long term memory is affected.
- Changes in Behavior – the patient often withdraws from the daily activities they used to engage in, and as the disease progresses they can become angry or prone to outbursts.
- Impaired Reasoning – the disease often transforms how a person thinks, not just what they remember. Often this manifests as impaired judgment and poor reasoning skills.
- Motor Dysfunctions – patients can sometimes lose their sense of touch, or even the use of their hands altogether.
Facts about Alzheimer’s
- Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed.
- Women make up almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease.
- One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
- To care for the more than 5 million Americans living with the disease, if takes an estimated 16 million caregivers, many of which are family.
- Someone develops Alzheimer’s in the US every 65 seconds.
- In 2017, 16 million caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at more than $232 billion.
- In 2018, Alzheimer’s disease will cost the United States $277 billion. This number is projected to rise to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.
What Can You Do?
One way you can help those affected by Alzheimer’s, and to help those who will one day be diagnosed, is to attend the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide and is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Your participation in the event helps to change the level of Alzheimer’s awareness in your community, which helps to bring more focus to the issue, on both a local and national level.
Go to the Walk To End Alzheimer’s website and find the walk that is being held nearest you. If you’re in the greater Boulder area on Saturday, August 11th, then you may choose to join the Landmark Memory Care team as we walk! You can donate or join our team here.
You can choose to donate in honor of someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or you can donate simply to help fight against this disease. If you want to walk with Landmark, we’re happy to have others join us to help bring awareness to this issue! The more people who are aware of this disease, the more people will want to fight against it, together.
To find out more about Alzheimer’s Disease, and how science is attempting to turn the tide against it, check out these useful resources:
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