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Top 10 Lies Everyone Believes about Alzheimer’s Disease
September is World Alzheimer’s Awareness month. In honor of that, let’s take a look at the top 10 lies and misconceptions people have about this terrible disease of the brain.
1. If you are losing your memory, you must have Alzheimer’s disease
Not true. Forgetting things every now and then is completely normal, no matter what your age. How can you tell the difference? Normal forgetfulness is forgetting where you left your car keys. Alzheimer’s is not knowing what your car keys are for. Many people with Alzheimer’s forget how to do formerly familiar tasks such as dressing themselves, or getting a glass of milk from the refrigerator. They also have communication problems such as not understanding phone calls or not understanding things that are said to them. For example, they might hear “Let’s go to the store” as “Let’s go to the doctor.” Some of these symptoms come from treatable causes such as drug interactions, infections, or brain tumors, so you should always consult a doctor for a diagnosis.
2. Alzheimer’s only affects the elderly
It is true that our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases as we age, the vast majority of cases show up after 60 years of age. Your risk of developing Alzheimer’s doubles every 5 years after the age of 65. Some estimates say that 50 percent of those over 85 have some form of dementia.
This being said, Alzheimer’s disease appears in people who are only 40 or 50 years old. There have even been a few rare cases of patients in their 20’s developing Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is already in advanced stages by the time most symptoms become obvious.
3. Aluminum causes Alzheimer’s
Although there has been a great deal of research into the link between Alzheimer’s and aluminum, the only thing that researchers seems to agree upon is that there still is insufficient evidence to prove that aluminum causes Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of consensus about what the root cause of Alzheimer’s actually is. There are many theories, but no hard evidence. Read also about dangerous lin between aspartame and Alzheimer’s.
4. Those with Alzheimer’s are aggressive and violent
Although Alzheimer’s does tend to cause personality changes, not everyone becomes violent or very aggressive. Some victims of Alzheimer’s become as innocent and docile as small child. Many of the common behaviors are wandering, trying to go “home”, suspicion, hiding objects, restlessness, and repeating actions or questions.
Trying to deal with the confusion and memory loss that goes with Alzheimer’s is both frustrating and frightening for victims of this terrible disease. Family members and caretakers should learn how to communicate effectively in order to avoid overly emotional responses.
SEE ALSO: 10 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
5. People with Alzheimer’s don’t know what’s going on around them
This is absolutely not true. Symptoms are deceiving. Persons with Alzheimer’s may not be able to communicate well and become easily confused, but that does not mean they are not aware of what is going on around them. They still have emotions and feelings, even though their memories and abilities to express themselves have changed. For example, a patient might not remember that his parents have passed away, but if you tell them, they will cry as if they just heard the news for the first time. Every person on earth needs social connections and interactions, a sense of belonging and feelings of happiness. Even persons in the late stages of this disease respond to touch, and find comfort in soothing music and kind voices.
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