June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

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By Barbara Adranly

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear later in life. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 6 million Americans, most of them age 65 or older, may have Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is currently ranked as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for help with basic activities of daily living.

The causes of dementia can vary depending on the types of brain changes that may be taking place. Other forms of dementia include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal disorders, and vascular dementia. It is common for people to have mixed dementia — a combination of two or more types of dementia. For example, some people have both Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s please visit the National Institute on Aging.

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