Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month – 5 Facts You Need to Know
People with Alzheimer’s disease experience devastating
physical and emotional challenges, as the abilities to remember, learn, and
think worsen over time, eventually leading to death. Please be aware that Alzheimer’s
is not a normal part of aging. Even though the disease is currently an
irreversible, incurable, and fatal disease, there is still hope. Go purple with a purpose for Alzheimer’s disease awareness month!
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
The Alzheimer’s Association defines Alzheimer’s disease (AD) a type of dementia
that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually
develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere
with daily tasks. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia
“No cure” does not mean “there is no treatment”.
Though there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are
treatments and actions you can take to better manage life with the disease. At
each stage of the disease, there are medical and care-related options that need
to be considered, as well as safety issues. Medicines may improve quality of
living and delay some symptoms. Counseling and other therapies may also be
Currently there are 4 drugs approved by the U. S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the symptoms of the disease for some time,
but they cannot stop the disease itself. Not every drug will be helpful for
every person with dementia.
What are the 2015 numbers in America?
Alzheimer’s currently affects about 5.3 million Americans
and that number is likely to triple by 2050. Of the 5.3 million Americans with AD,
5.1 million people are over 65 years old and 200,000 people are under 65 years old.
Women are more impaired by the disease as only one-third of Americans with
Alzheimer’s are men.
It is the sixth leading cause of death in the USA and is
climbing steadily in the rankings. Also, Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of
dementia and accounts for about 65% of all dementia worldwide
When did we start building global awareness campaign about Alzheimer’s disease?
Since 1983, America recognizes the month of November as
National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. At the time, fewer than 2 million
Americans had AD (vs. 5.3 million today).
11 years later, World Alzheimer’s Day was launched at the
opening of ADI’s annual conference in Edinburgh on 21 September 1994 to
celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI).
ADI is the international federation of Alzheimer associations around the world,
in official relations with the World Health Organization.
Alzheimer’s Month was launched in September 2012. The
decision to introduce the full month, to contain the existing World Alzheimer’s
Day, was made to enable national and local Alzheimer associations worldwide to
extend the reach of their awareness programs over a longer period of time.
Where does the name Alzheimer’s disease come from?
In 1906, as Dr. Aloysius “Alois” Alzheimer was examining a dead woman’s brain, he noticed changes in the brain
tissue. He knew the woman died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms
included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior.
The doctor’s brain examination revealed many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid
plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary, or tau,
tangles). These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered
some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease.