Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. This debilitating brain disorder affects memory, thinking, and language. In this article, we will explore the key aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, including its prevalence, symptoms, and recent positive developments.
Prevalence and Impact:
Alzheimer’s disease is a significant concern, as it is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In 2020 alone, approximately 6 million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and this number is expected to nearly triple by 2040, reaching 14 million individuals according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Age plays a crucial role, with the following statistics highlighting the risk:
– 5% of the population aged 65-74
– 13% of the population aged 75-84
– 33% of the population older than 85
As life expectancy increases, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is projected to grow due to the aging population.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease:
While scientists have yet to determine the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease, it is generally accepted that age is a significant factor. The disease is progressive, making it challenging to identify symptoms at early stages. However, awareness and early diagnosis play a crucial role in managing the condition effectively.
Identifying the signs of Alzheimer’s disease is vital for early intervention. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:
- Difficulty remembering new information
- Forgetting important dates or events
- Repeating questions
- Difficulty following plans or directions
- Trouble with vocabulary or using incorrect words/names
- Difficulty navigating familiar places
- Losing track of time or location
- Misplacing items or putting them in unusual places
- Poor judgment regarding finances
- Withdrawal from hobbies or social activities
These symptoms can vary from person to person, but if any of these signs are observed, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.
When a family member shows potential signs of Alzheimer’s disease, there are steps you can take to improve home conditions and potentially prevent further issues. Consider the following solutions:
- Increased frequency of observed symptoms: Start a diary or log of worrisome actions and their occurrences. The Alzheimer’s Association provides a helpful worksheet for tracking warning signs.
- Wandering: Share your loved one’s location on a cell phone to ensure their safety.
- Trouble handling finances: Consider hiring a personal bookkeeper to assist with household financial management.
- Difficulty walking and accidents: Obtain a fall alert device, such as those available from Best Medical Alert Systems and Devices with Fall Detection.
- Difficulty managing personal care: Enlist the help of a professional personal care worker or housekeeper from a reputable home care service provider like Home Instead.
In July 2023, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug Leqembi as the first antibody treatment for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. This groundbreaking development is a cause for optimism. Furthermore, Medicare has announced broad coverage for this treatment, ensuring accessibility for diagnosed patients. If needed, professional advisers can assist in navigating Medicare coverage requirements. Early identification of Alzheimer’s disease, combined with FDA-approved medication, provides hope in reducing the impact of this debilitating condition.
Alzheimer’s disease is a prevalent and concerning condition that affects millions of individuals and their families. By understanding the disease, recognizing the symptoms, and taking appropriate actions, we can improve the quality of life for those affected. Recent advancements, such as the approval of Leqembi and expanded Medicare coverage, offer hope for better management and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Stay informed, seek professional guidance, and take proactive steps to support your loved ones on their journey with this condition.
About the author: Louise Langsam
Louise grew up in Deerfield, IL. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a BA in Economics she earned an MBA in Marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Later in her career she received a Digital Marketing Certification from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Business.
Louise has held several brand management roles for consumer products companies including Sears, Lipton and Reckitt & Colman. She also is certified as a Personal Trainer, working with adults of all ages. In her most recent role she was the Account Services Manager at The Aspire Group, an educational and therapeutic consultancy, where she managed billing, finances, created and managed digital marketing and maintained the website.
Louise lives in Highland Park, IL with her husband. They are the proud parents of three children – a daughter in medical school, another daughter planning to attend law school and a son graduating college as a Biomedical Engineer.
After assisting various family members get organized with their banking and paperwork, Louise realized how much she enjoyed helping others. She was able to alleviate many of their financial concerns and reduce a tremendous amount of their anxiety. She was thrilled to join My Personal Bookkeeper to be of service to others!