Although we are understanding Alzheimer’s more than ever before, there’s still so much the average person can still learn. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that is a progressive disease. It destroys important mental functions such as memory, cognitive abilities and more. It impacts family, spouses and friends, yet many don’t know about Alzheimer’s or about the possible causes, risk factors and preventions. To help you form a better understanding of dementia, we’ve put together a list of 10 facts about Alzheimer’s you may not know.
Interesting Alzheimer’s Disease Facts
Women Are More Likely to Get Alzheimer’s Disease Than Men
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, nearly double the number of women get Alzheimer’s disease when compared to men. Alzheimer’s symptoms also seem to worsen more rapidly for women. Women with Alzheimer’s tend to experience brain shrinkage on a more severe level. Research suggests this may be due to other health factors.
Alzheimer’s Disease May Affect an Individual’s Sense of Smell
An appalling fact about Alzheimer’s from The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveals that a person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may lose their sense of smell. This change could also be due to other factors including brain injury, sinus infection, and Parkinson’s disease.
Related Article: The Benefits of Detecting Alzheimer’s Disease In Its Early Stages
The Prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease is Increasing
According to Alzheimer’s Orange County, “The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will grow each year as the size and proportion of the U.S. population age 65 and older continue to increase.” With more than a 40 percent increase from 2015, the number of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated to reach 7.1 million by 2025. This will nearly triple in 2050 with a projected 13.8 million.
More Than Half of All Individuals With Alzheimer’s Do Not Know They Have It
Approximately out of 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, more than half of them aren’t aware that they have the disease. Although this Alzheimer’s fact may be improbable, it is largely due to the challenges of detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s, which result in many undiagnosed cases.
Eighty-Three Percent of Support Provided to Older Adults in the United States is From Family Members & Caregivers
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 83% of support given to older adults comes from family members, unpaid caregivers and close friends. It’s also suggested that almost half of all caregivers help older adults living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
Two-Thirds of Caregivers Are Women
Approximately 30%, or one in three caregivers, are age 65 or older. Two-thirds of caregivers are women, one-third being daughters of those who have dementia. Another unique fact about Alzheimer’s caregivers is 66% of these individuals live with a loved one that has dementia, and one-quarter of those caregivers are known as the “sandwich generation.” This means that they not only care for their aging parents but also for children under age 18.
Related Article: Eating Healthy Foods May Help Delay Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease Does Not Always Impact Emotional Memories
According to Alzheimer’s Net, although Alzheimer’s disease is most commonly known for impaired memory, this is not always the case. We must remember: Alzheimer’s is the rapid decline of brain cells. This affects various cognitive functions such as thinking, memory, judgment, behavior and personality. While memory loss is a frequent symptom, it does not affect every individual equally.
Education May Decrease Your Probability of Obtaining Alzheimer’s Disease
National Institute on Aging (NIA) reports that education can lower the risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease. This is accomplished by keeping the brain active in old age. Help to lower the odds with various activities including learning new languages, taking classes, playing musical instruments and participating in group activities.
Brain Degeneration is a Gradual Process
German doctor, Alois Alzheimer, first discovered Alzheimer’s disease in 1906. The patient, Auguste D. was described by the doctor as having memory loss and problems with cognitive functions.
After the deceased patient’s autopsy, Dr. Alzheimer concluded that part of the patient’s brain was shrunken. In 1910, a psychiatrist working with the doctor named the condition Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease Affects the Structure of the Brain
Alzheimer’s disease alters the structure of the brain. It is a well-known fact that “Alzheimer’s can cause ventricles in the brain to enlarge due to shrinkage of other parts of the brain like the cerebral cortex. These changes can lead to difficulty in detecting movement, directing gaze toward an object and changes in how the pupils react to light.”
Five Benefits of Visiting a Family Member With Alzheimer’s
When was the last time you visited your loved one with Alzheimer’s? Although your family member may struggle with memory loss, it’s a fact that visiting those with Alzheimer’s or dementia does make a positive impact no matter the progression of their disease. Here’s why:
- Though your loved one may not remember your relationship, your visit can still enhance the quality of their life by creating meaningful moments. Those with Alzheimer’s still have emotional memory. Though they may not recall an event, they may remember how it made them feel
- Socializing with your family member can improve their mood and help them relax.
- Whether you know it or not, loved ones with Alzheimer’s enjoy visits. No, they may not always remember your name or how you relate to them, but it makes a difference and there is still a special connection.
- Though they may not be able to express it, loved ones with Alzheimer’s may recognize you.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Programs
If you are caring for an individual with dementia and want to learn more about interesting Alzheimer’s facts, please reach out to our team at (630) 534-0886. Terra Vista is a memory care assisted living community that specializes in caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. We’re wholeheartedly committed to making sure your family member lives a meaningful life. We also offer a memory respite care program and additional caregiving resources for you and your loved one.