Truth or Myth? Alzheimer’s Disease Facts Separated from Fiction
If you’re like most family members providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, you’ve likely gone to the Internet to try to learn as much as possible about the disease. And if so, you’ve probably also discovered a lot of conflicting information, making it hard to know which resources you can trust.
At Home & Hearth Caregivers, our Illinois Alzheimer’s disease care experts want to help. We’ve compiled some of the top Alzheimer’s disease myths, and the actual truths behind them:
Myth: Dad remembers so many stories from when he was growing up, so he certainly can’t have Alzheimer’s disease.
Truth: Alzheimer’s disease impacts recent (short-term) memories first, so memories of the more distant past can remain much longer throughout the progression of the disease. This is why someone in the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s disease can often remember stories from the past quite clearly. It’s also important to keep in mind that those with Alzheimer’s tend to have both good days and bad days, and can seem to come “back to normal” for short periods of time.
Myth: Alzheimer’s disease only affects people over age 65.
Truth: There is one particular form of Alzheimer’s disease, early-onset Alzheimer’s, which affects adults beginning as young as their 30s, although it is very rare and most often becomes evident in those age 50 and older.
Myth: Most people who have Alzheimer’s don’t realize they’re losing their memories.
Truth: The majority of those with Alzheimer’s disease are often quite aware, especially in the early stages, that they’re experiencing lapses in memory or starting to struggle with performing once familiar tasks. Whether they recognize it as Alzheimer’s is another matter. As the disease progresses into later stages and symptoms worsen, their awareness of the situation is likely to decline.
Myth: My mom has Alzheimer’s, so I’ll get it too.
Truth: Although having a close family member with Alzheimer’s disease does slightly increase a person’s risk for developing the disease, it doesn’t mean it’s likely. Certain types of Alzheimer’s disease more often run in families: for example, familial Alzheimer’s disease, one type of early onset Alzheimer’s, which accounts for less than ten percent of Alzheimer’s cases. The more common forms of the disease, those with a later onset, have not shown a clear pattern of heredity.
Myth: Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented.
Truth: Effectively preventing Alzheimer’s disease is not yet a viable option, since the ultimate cause has yet to be determined. There are ways, however, to try to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the higher risk factors to avoid include heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, head injury, smoking and alcohol consumption.
Dedicated Dementia Care Illinois Seniors Need
The Alzheimer’s care experts at Home & Hearth Caregivers are here to provide expert Alzheimer’s disease care for your senior loved one, allowing your family peace of mind and enhancing the senior’s quality of life, safety and independence. Call us any time at 800-349-0663 to learn more.