The odds are you’ve known someone who’s forgotten their favorite song. Who’s forgotten the keys to the piano. Someone whose shimmer has disappeared from their eyes. Whose deep belly laugh has been replaced with a discomforting silence. Someone who’s forgotten how to eat. Who’s forgotten endless memories. Someone who’s forgotten your name. Who’s forgotten your face.
This is dedicated to those who can’t bring awareness. To those who don’t even know there’s something to bring awareness to.
June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
Here are some quick facts to understand the gravity of the plaguing epidemic:
- Approximately 6.5 million Americans ages 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, the number is projected to reach 12.7 million.
- Every 65 seconds an American develops Alzheimer’s.
- By 2050, an American will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.
- There are nearly 55 million human beings suffering from the disease—more than the population of Colombia.
- If there’s no medical quantum leap, the global number will roughly double every 20 years reaching 78 million people in 2030 and 139 million people in 2050.
- In the time it takes to read this sentence aloud, someone in the world will have just been diagnosed with dementia.
- Every 3 seconds an individual develops dementia.
- 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.
Tips for Preventing Alzheimer’s
Unfortunately, a cure doesn’t currently exist for Alzheimer’s but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can be doing. Though research is still advancing, evidence has shown people can lessen their risk by making healthy lifestyle changes and choices.
The Alzheimer’s Association provides a collection of tips in 10 Ways to Love Your Brain that can reduce cognitive decline. Let’s check out the key takeaways.
- Regularly engage in cardiovascular exercise that raises your heart rate and and increases blood flow to the brain and body.
- Continue formal education and learning during all stages of your life.
- Don’t smoke and if you do quit now!
- Take care of your heart, especially if you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
- Avoid potential brain injuries! Buckle up every time you’re in the car and wear a helmet when playing contact sports.
- Consume a balanced and nutritious diet that’s low in fat and high in vegetables and fruit.
- Get an adequate amount of sleep.
- Tend to your mental health.
- Maintain strong social connections
- Activate and challenge your mind through creative and strategic activities.
Despite there being no cure for Alzheimer’s, scientists have made stupendous efforts towards creating treatments that can ease a few symptoms in some people. Just note that Alzheimer’s is a very complex disease, so it’s improbable that any single medicine or intervention will ever successfully remedy it in all people suffering from the disease.
FDA-approved medications to treat symptoms
- Donepezil (Aricept) treats mild, moderate and severe Alzheimer’s.
- Rivastigmine (Exelon) also treats mild, moderate and severe Alzheimer’s.
- Galantamine (Razadyne) treats mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.
- Memantine (Namenda) treats moderate to severe Alzheimer’s.
- Donepezil to Memantine (Namzaric) is a manufactured combination that treats moderate to severe Alzheimer’s.
Medications with FDA accelerated approval to treat the underlying disease
Aducanumab (Aduhelm) and Lecanemab (Leqembi) are disease-modifying immunotherapies that treat mild cognitive impairments or early Alzheimer’s.