Four Myths About Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is one of the scariest diseases that strikes people mostly in the second half of life. However, Alzheimer’s can also strike people in their 30s, 40s or 50s. The fact that Alzheimer’s is a disease exclusively for seniors is the first myth about this disease. There are so many myths about Alzheimer’s because we know so little about its causes or treatment, but, every day, researchers learn more. Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths.
Myth #1: As we age, it’s normal to have memory loss.
Fact: This myth is true to a degree. Occasional memory loss is a normal part of aging, but it can be combated by exercising the mind as we do any other muscle. Playing games that exercise the mind and keep it sharp can stave off normal, age-related memory loss.
Alzheimer’s, however, cannot be prevented by exercising the mind. Alzheimer’s slowly causes brain cells to malfunction until they die, making it difficult for the victim to take care of themselves, to learn, or to perform normal daily activities.
Myth #2: Alzheimer’s is a disease for seniors only.
Fact: In fact, younger-onset Alzheimer’s can afflict people in their 30s, 40s and 50s. 200,000 people in the U.S. under the age of 65 are afflicted with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. If you are experiencing memory loss combined with difficulty performing every day tasks, and it is not related to stress, depression or simple over-scheduling, see a doctor right away so you can determine whether or not it’s younger-onset Alzheimer’s and decide on a course of treatment and practice ways to cope with the disease as it progresses.
Myth #3: A number of environmental factors and toxins in the environment cause Alzheimer’s.
Fact: The links between Alzheimer’s and dental fillings, aluminum cookware, artificial sweeteners has been found to be inconclusive and many reputable researchers can’t find any evidence to support these theories. No one yet knows what causes Alzheimer’s.
However, growing bodies of research show that a healthy diet, high in brain-healthy foods with lots of Omega-3s, including fish, and nuts, as well as tomatoes, poultry, fruits, broccoli, and dark green, leafy vegetables may help stave off Alzheimer’s, while a diet high in fat from red meat and dairy products may lead to an increased risk of the disease.
Additionally, resistance training and other regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s In a study out of Germany, men and woman ages 55 and up who exercised regularly over a two-year period scored higher than their less-active counterparts on cognitive exams. The incidence of new cognitive problems in those who exercised was just 6.7 percent (for moderate exercise) and 5.1 percent (for high intensity workouts), while the sedentary seniors had a 13.9 percent incidence.
Growing bodies of evidence show a healthy diet and regular exercise may be one of the best forms of insurance against developing Alzheimer’s.
Myth #4: Treatments today can stop the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Fact: Sadly, medical science has not yet found any way to cure, delay or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, assisted living and memory care communities today have well-trained staff who can help residents and their family members cope with the effects of Alzheimer’s and alleviate some of the worst symptoms, such as agitation when an Alzheimer’s patient’s routine is disrupted.
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