Despite the prevalence of Alzheimer’s, most people don’t know much about the disease aside from its effects on cognitive health. The Westfield Alzheimer’s home care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to share a few lesser-known facts about this complicated condition.
1. The Disease Was Discovered in the Last Century
In 1906, Dr. Alois Alzheimer first described the disease that now bears his name. He had a female patient who was experiencing behavioral changes, memory loss, and issues with language that were believed to be the result of an unusual mental illness. After the woman’s death, Dr. Alzheimer examined her brain and discovered clumps and tangled bundles. We now know these plaques and tangles interfere with neural connections and lead to the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
2. The Frequency of Alzheimer’s Diagnoses Is Increasing
Approximately 5 million seniors in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and the disease affects an estimated 1 out of every 9 adults over age 65, which amounts to 1 person being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds. Because people are living longer now than in the past, some experts believe this statistic will change to 1 person diagnosed every 33 seconds by the year 2050. Researchers are working on blood tests that can identify if a healthy person is likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
3. Alzheimer’s Does Not Just Affect Seniors
Although rare, there is a form of Alzheimer’s that can affect people as early as their 30s. This type of Alzheimer’s affects approximately 5 percent of people under age 65. Most experts believe the majority of early-onset Alzheimer’s cases have a genetic component.
4. Alzheimer’s Is Connected to the Sense of Smell
According to a 2013 study in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences, seniors with Alzheimer’s often lose their sense of smell. It is important to remember the inability to smell can be caused by a number of other conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, and even a simple sinus infection.
Another thing you might not know about Alzheimer’s disease is that engaging in certain activities can actually help slow cognitive decline and even delay its onset. At Home Care Assistance, we offer a program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM) that was designed for this specific purpose. For more information on CTM and the home care Westfield seniors rely on, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.