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Alzheimer's disease: Top 5 myths debunked

Posted June 29, 2020 by Natalie A Kayani, MD

Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It’s the most common cause of dementia and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases.

Alzheimer’s disease causes problems with memory, thinking and other cognitive behaviors. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about Alzheimer’s disease, such as who gets it, what it is and how it affects the people who have it. Summa Health debunks the top 5 myths surrounding Alzheimer’s disease so we can truly understand the disease and better help those affected.

1. Alzheimer’s only happens to old people.

Of the 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s dementia, an estimated 5.6 million people are age 65 and older, leaving 200,000 individuals under age 65.
2. Alzheimer’s symptoms are a normal part of aging.
Unlike the mild memory loss that can happen with aging, Alzheimer’s disease gradually worsens, taking away someone’s ability to think, eat, talk and more.
3. Alzheimer’s doesn’t lead to death. 
Sadly, it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and there has been a 145 percent increase in deaths from Alzheimer’s between 2000 and 2017. Most people live 8 to 10 years after they’ve been diagnosed. 
4. There are treatments to stop the disease from getting worse. 
Although there are several treatments on the market to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms, there is no current way to stop the disease.
5. Alzheimer’s is caused by aluminum, flu shots or silver fillings.
The fact is experts don’t know what causes this disease. It might be a mix of factors tied to genes, environment and lifestyle. Some research suggests it might be related to health conditions, like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. There’s a lot of research under way, but the results aren’t clear.

People with memory loss or other signs of Alzheimer’s will probably find it difficult to recognize they have a problem. Normally, the signs are more obvious to loved ones. 

If you think you or a loved one may be developing Alzheimer’s disease, here are typical signs to watch for:

Memory loss that disrupts life
Challenges in planning or solving problems
Difficulty completing familiar tasks
Confusion with time or place
Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
New problems with words in speaking or writing

Anyone experiencing some or all of these symptoms should see a doctor right away. For more information or to schedule an assessment, contact the Senior Health Center at 330.375.4100.


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If your situation is an emergency, call 911.