7 Things you should know about Alzheimer’s disease

Published: September 8th, 2017
Author: First & Main
Category: Articles

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 10% of people over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Dementia.  The disease erodes a person’s memory, personality, and reasoning gradually over time.  Alzheimer’s primarily effects seniors, 5 million in the United States alone. 

The beginning symptoms of Alzheimer’s can consist of forgetting newly learned information, having increased confusion, and misplacing objects.  There are three stages of Alzheimer’s: mild, moderate, and severe; and symptom prominence and severity increase with time.  There is still a great deal to be understood about Alzheimer’s disease, but here are a few facts to help you gain a better knowledge of the disease.

        1 -  Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia
There are two broad types of dementia, and Alzheimer’s is one of them.  Dementia occurs as a result of a stroke or from damage to cells that form within the brain.  Alzheimer’s arises because of damage to brain cells, along with other conditions like Parkinson’s disease.  New studies have found that oxygen starvation to tiny blood vessels leading to the brain may have a correlation to Alzheimer’s disease. 

        2 - There are some risk factors you can control
Some risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease you can control include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and obesity.   Another risk factor is brain injuries.  Risk of brain injury can be reduced by wearing your seatbelt while driving and wearing a bike helmet when biking or skiing.

        3 - There are some risk factors you can’t control
You cannot control getting older, and getting older is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.  The risk for getting Alzheimer’s doubles every 5 years that a person ages.  Another thing you cannot control is your genetics.  There is a greater risk for Alzheimer’s if you have inherited a specific version of the apolipoprotein gene known as ApoE.

        4 - Aluminum cookware is not a cause of Alzheimer’s disease
Rumors circulated that aluminum cookware was a risk factor for getting Alzheimer’s disease, but countless studies have debunked this theory.  Using aluminum cookware cannot give you Alzheimer’s disease. 

        5 - Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease can be expensive and difficult
The cost of diagnosing Alzheimer’s can be pricey, and it does not fit most people’s budgets.  Doctors use expensive testing, such as PET scans, to analyze the brain and highlight any presence of amyloid. 

        6 - Blood testing for Alzheimer’s is in the works
Currently, studies are being conducted on how to test for Alzheimer’s in blood samples.  This has the potential to solve the budget dilemma.  The two markers that researchers are trying to analyze are plasmalogen and progranulin.  Being able to identify the two markers is moving faster than understanding what they mean. 

        7 - Your ancestry may be a significant factor in being determining if you contract Alzheimer’s disease.
There is a major gap in Alzheimer’s research in the area of genetic factors in populations with different ancestral backgrounds.  Knowing how the risk factors of the disease vary across different populations can be beneficial to better understanding Alzheimer’s disease.