June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder that destroys the memory and other mental functions of the brain. It is said to be caused by the abnormal build-up of protein around brain cells. The main two types of proteins involved are: amyloid- which is responsible for build-up of plaque around brain cells; the other is tau- which forms tangles within brain cells. Now is a great time to show support to the millions of people struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease is a global crisis and now is the time to educate the public of its effects on both patients and their loved ones.

Dementia is a term for conditions characterized by a decline in memory, language, problem-solving and thinking skills that prohibit a person’s ability to perform the everyday activities. The decline in cognitive functions is a result of abnormal brain changes and loss of brain functions due to a series of small strokes. Some common symptoms of dementia can include:

  • Becoming forgetful of names or events
  • Unable to recall information about themselves such as their address, phone number, school attended, etc.
  • Confusion
  • Trouble controlling bladder and bowel movements
  • Anger/aggression
  • Agitation
  • Depression and isolation

Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia that specifically causes problems with memory that develops slowly and gradually, and it gets worse with time. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently 44 million people living with Alzheimer’s Disease world-wide with over 5 million in the US alone. Amongst the leading causes of deaths in the Unites States, Alzheimer’s Disiease has been ranked the 6th (that’s 1 in 3 adults). According to the statistics from 2008-2018; there was a 146% increase in the number of Alzheimer’s and Dementia-related deaths. This number is projected to increase by 2050 to nearly 14 million deaths.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease can affect people in different individual ways. Some may develop the symptoms slowly, while others develop all the symptoms at once. While there is no cure, there are some treatments available such as medication can slow its progression. Because of limited knowledge about Alzheimer’s Disease, there is a growing need for more research to gain a better understanding of its causes, treatments, prevention and cure.

Some common risk factors of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease include:

  • Age (the risk increases as we get older)
  • Family history
  • Poor lifestyle choices (i.e. smoking, excessive alcohol intake, limited physical activities)
  • Ethnicity (African and Latino Americans have a higher risk)

Research has shown that exercise can prevent/help manage symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease because it can help improve memory, provide opportunities for social interaction, and improve strength and balance.

Want to show your support for this cause? Join me by wearing the color purple with your purple ribbon- the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement.

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