November has been deemed National Alzheimer’s Awareness month.  President Ronald Reagan  first designated the month to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) awareness in 1983.  Less than 2 million Americans were afflicted with AD in the early 1980’s; today that number has more than doubled at approximately 5.4 million.  It’s estimated that approximately 1 in every 2 families have been directly impacted by Alzheimer’s.

The past ten days, Winston Medical Center has shared with you ten facts about Alzheimer’s from  Here is a recap of the facts:

Fact #1.
Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and it is the ONLY one of the top 10 diseases that cannot be cured.

FACT #2.
The number of people living with AD today (over 5 million) is predicted to triple by the year 2050.

FACT #3.
Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia-accounting for 65% of dementia cases worldwide.

FACT #4.
After its onset, Alzheimer’s disease typically follows a 14-year course; diagnosis usually occurs during year number 8 through 10.

FACT #5.
Symptoms of AD commonly go untreated for the first 7 years of the disease (unless regular screening is performed).  This time span allows the disease ample time to spread throughout the brain, causing permanent damage.

Fact #6.
Alzheimer’s medications (and other interventions) are most effective during the early course of the disease.  A huge number of people with AD are not fortunate enough to be eligible to receive the full benefits of AD medication-because they are diagnosed too late.

FACT #7.
The myth that memory loss is a normal part of aging works against early diagnosis of AD. Some medical professionals fall victim to this misperception.  Early screening, particularly for people with memory problems, is vital to effective diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

FACT #8.
What’s good for the heart is good for the brain.  Adhering to a heart healthy diet and lifestyle regime has been shown to lend itself to AD prevention.  Heart disease raises the risk for AD. Therefore, seeing a doctor regularly for screening and early intervention of heart disease is important.

FACT #9.
Learning about AD risk factors and managing them early in life has been shown in research studies to delay or prevent cognitive problems, and promote brain health into the senior years.

FACT #10.
Due to recent intensive research efforts, there are many new medications in the pipeline for approval to treat AD.  The disease is NOT hopeless, in fact, the earlier AD is diagnosed, the higher the success rate is for slowing down or preventing further brain damage.  Although there is no cure for AD today, there is hope that one of the many new treatment modalities, currently being researched, may just end up stopping the progression of the disease altogether.