Sometimes it’s easy to allow misconceptions to shape our understanding of something. There are a number of myths about Alzheimer’s disease, for example, that have become part of the public consciousness surrounding this health concern. Here, we’ll dispel some of them:
Myth #1: Alzheimer’s is a normal part of aging.
False. A certain amount of memory loss may come with aging in some people. However, Alzheimer’s disease has specific symptoms that aren’t a normal part of aging. Aside from being a neurodegenerative disease (which aging is not classified as), Alzheimer’s differs in some of the following ways:
- Forgetting the time or place or how they arrived there
- Trouble following or joining a conversation
- Linguistic confusion or displacement
- Loss of grooming habits or being unkempt
- Withdrawal from hobbies due to forgetting how to engage
- May not recognize aged self or close contacts
Myth #2: Only older people get Alzheimer’s.
False. Alzheimer’s is just more prevalent and pronounced in aging adults. However, early-onset Alzheimer’s symptoms can show up in patients as young as in their 20’s. Much of the early-onset symptoms can be traced to traumatic brain injury.
Myth #3: There’s nothing anyone can do to prevent Alzheimer’s.
False. Indeed, there’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and no apparent causes. However, risk factors can be attended to that show a decreased chance of having Alzheimer’s. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle (in the ways listed below, for example) may reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s and help curb symptoms that are already present.
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Manage your heart health
- Don’t smoke
- Reduce your alcohol intake
Myth #4: Dementia and Alzheimer’s are different.
False. Dementia is not a disease. It’s a general term for a decline in mental ability (caused by physical changes in the brain) that interferes with a person’s daily life. There are many types of dementia, such as Lewy body dementia, mixed dementia, and vascular dementia. Alzheimer’s is a disease and one of the most common that leads to dementia.
Myth #5: After being diagnosed, someone with Alzheimer’s has a prognosis of only a few months.
False. Each prognosis is different, just like each person is different. People may have underlying issues or no other issues at all. The stage advancement is also a consideration in prognosis. While there’s no cure, doctors are working to successfully manage Alzheimer’s with a combination of treatments, including medicine, therapy, diet, and exercise. Research is frequently developing to combat the disease’s effects and dispel the myths about Alzheimer’s disease.
Interested In Learning More?
Here at Olivenhain Guest Home, where we offer compassionate care with a patient-centered approach, we’re happy to help answer your questions about Alzheimer’s disease. So don’t hesitate to reach out. The Alzheimer’s Association also dispels more myths about Alzheimer’s disease here.