#WAM2014 Celebrate World Alzheimer’s Month With Awareness

Every 67 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s and more than 5 million Americans are currently living with the disease. September is World Alzheimer’s Month and it is the perfect time to raise awareness for this disease that affects so many people every year. September marks a month-long celebration of Alzheimer’s awareness as well as the 20th anniversary of World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21.

Alzheimer’s disease is defined by the Alzheimer’s association as, “A type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.” It is the most common type of dementia as it makes up three to four out of five dementia cases.  Warning signs of the disease vary but often include uncertainty of time or place, decreased or minimized judgment, withdrawal from social activities and/or changes in personality. If you or a loved one exhibit these symptoms chronically, it is best to reach out to your physician for an examination or referral.

Did you know that if Alzheimer’s was eliminated, 500 million lives would be saved globally each year? Here are some other staggering statistics about the disease:

  •  Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  •  It is estimated that as many as 16 million Americans will have the disease in 2050
  •  170,000 senior citizens in Michigan have Alzheimer’s as of 2014
  •  On average, as of 2010, over 2,500 senior citizens in Michigan die from Alzheimer’s each year

The good news is that there are ways to prevent the disease and work toward a cure too. From awareness to exercise, there are many different ways to get started:

  • Eat foods like berries and fish –berries typically contain Alzheimer’s deterrents such as anthocyanosides (memory impairment fighters) and fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna contain docosahexaenoic acid (shown to be higher in those without Alzheimer’s in various studies).
  • Exercise your brain- activities like puzzles and learning a new language keep your mind in top shape by requiring focus and concentration.
  • Adopt Mediterranean eating habitsStudies have shown that people who remained adherent to a Mediterranean style diet typically had a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s than those who did not.
  • Spread awareness– Use social media to spread recognition of the disease and add the month’s hashtag, #WAM2014, to applicable posts.
  • Participate to help find a cure– Michigan events like the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Marquette, among others, are great for both exercise and awareness throughout the fall.

Do you know someone with Alzheimer’s or affected by the disease?

Photo credit: Andrew Beeston

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