November is the month of many awareness campaigns taking place globally. Beyond Movember and No Shave November, it’s time we remember that November is also Alzheimer’s Disease and Awareness Month.
The neurodegenerative disease is perhaps one of the most difficult burdens to bear, both for Alzheimer’s patients and their families and friends. While many studies have been dedicated to finding preventive therapies or treatment therapies, many have yet to produce results. For those bearing this burden, Alzheimer’s Disease and Awareness Month is a good opportunity to receive extra support while teaching others more on the condition. Understanding Alzheimer’s disease is a first step in this direction.
One out of three seniors living in the United States die having being diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease according to statistics released by the Alzheimer’s Association. Overall, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth cause of death nationwide. Over 5 million U.S. adults in the age group above 65 suffer from the debilitating condition. By 2050, the number is estimated to spike to 13.8 million U.S. adults.
As November is also Alzheimer’s Disease and Awareness Month, here are a few facts worth mentioning. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. In fact, it is the most common form. Other forms of dementia that affect many others are Huntington’s disease, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, as well as Lewy body dementia. While they add to a worrying scale, none of these other forms lead to memory-loss in the same way as Alzheimer’s disease does.
Parkinson’s disease affect an estimated 600,000 U.S. citizens. Lewy body dementia affects another 1 million U.S. citizens.
The common denominator for all of these is that there are no cures or preventive treatments. In addition, with Alzheimer’s, women are more prone than men to suffer from the neurodegenerative condition. Overall, two thirds of the patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are women. This group is also prone to a rapid advancement of the disease, leading to memory loss and degradation of several functions.
It is imperative that more funds go into further research on these conditions. Alzheimer’s Disease and Awareness month can greatly contribute to reaching this goal. In 1983, November was declared as the Alzheimer’s Disease and Awareness Month. At the time, two million people had been diagnosed with the disease. A much higher number in 2015 requires a rescaling of the efforts invested in research, care and awareness.
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