If you are connected on social media, and really who isn’t these days, you might be seeing a lot of purple this month in honor of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, which is officially recognized in the month of June.
It is estimated that there are five and a half million Americans living with Alzheimer’s Disease today. Degenerative in nature, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but there are many ways that those living with the disease can improve their quality of life… and due to the amount of research and activism, those numbers continue to rise.
Non-discriminatory, Alzheimer’s affects people regardless of social status, race, wealth or career. But those with the disease are not alone. In fact, many famous people have battled the disease. Today, through advocacy and actions like the Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month activities, the word is getting out and the community comprised of those living with Alzheimer’s, caretakers and advocates is growing. With campaigns from “Show Your Purple” to hashtags dedicated to awareness, shared personal stories and much more, there is much hope on the horizon.
As we continue the fight to learn and battle Alzheimer’s, it is important to be aware of possible indicators. Most often occurring in patients over the age of 65, early-onset Alzheimer’s can occur much earlier. As with all medical conditions, awareness is key and the earlier the diagnosis, the earlier treatment can begin. Symptoms vary by patient but there are some common main characteristics of Alzheimer’s Disease including: memory loss, difficulty with communication, Apraxia (the inability to carry out voluntary movements), Aphasia (difficulty or loss of the ability to speak or understand speech, writing or sign language due to damage in the corresponding nervous center), Agnosia (the loss of the ability to recognize what objects are and what they are used for), behavioral and personality changes and physical changes.
If you or loved one are experiencing memory loss, challenges in problem solving, confusion or any of the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, speak with you physician. Click here to see the list of early warning signs from the Alzheimer’s Association. And most of all, remember that there are many resources available to help today.