Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness
As you get older, it’s normal to forget some details. Things like having trouble remembering where you parked your car or where the TV remote is are part of aging. But when should you be concerned, and what are the signs that it may not just be forgetfulness in old age? June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and we have some key signs to look for, as well as small preventative measures you can practice early.
Stages of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s Disease can be tricky to identify. Age-related changes are normal, but the line into a medical issue isn’t always clear. Normally, those over the age of 65 are at the most risk of developing this disease. However, early-onset can start in people as early as in their 30’s. There are 4 definable stages of Alzheimer’s a person may go through. These include:
- The preclinical stage, when your brain may be undergoing changes.
- An early stage, when you may be showing forgetfulness that is overlooked due to age.
- A middle stage where physical issues like wandering from home and needing aid for daily activities are present.
- And finally, the late stage. This stage is defined by losing control of bodily functions, not being able to hold conversations and requiring constant attention for quality of life.
These stages, as well as neurological exams, physical tests, looking at medical history, brain imaging, genetic tests, and cognitive exams can all help your healthcare provider determine whether you or a loved one are at risk for Alzheimer’s.
We still don’t know a lot about why Alzheimer’s happens or what exactly causes this disease. Medical professionals and researchers, however, have made some good links to certain factors. The Alzheimer’s Association, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to and helping research for Alzheimer’s, describes a few factors:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Head trauma
- Social connections
- Physical exercise
While cardiovascular disease or a poor diet and exercise routine may not mean you will develop this disease, the evidence is strong enough to warrant caution and beginning good health habits early in life.
Alzheimer’s Treatment & Research
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are several FDA-approved medications for those suffering from mild to severe cases of dementia (caused by Alzheimer’s). The Alzheimer’s Association is also one of many organizations that is dedicated to helping fund research development of future treatment, as well as increasing Alzheimer’s awareness.
Comanche County Memorial Hospital is dedicated to helping your family and loved ones through medical difficulties and battles; Alzheimer’s is no different. If you or someone close to you are experiencing any of the symptoms described in this blog, do not hesitate to seek medical help and advice. You can make an appointment to discuss your options and situation through our Provider Directory. Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases can be scary, but you’re not alone. Make an appointment today with our medical professionals to take the next step.
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Alzheimer’s Association. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/research_progress/prevention
John Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/alzheimers-disease/stages-of-alzheimer-disease