There are many myths about alzheimer’s disease that people believe, and adhering to them can cause problems when trying to treat someone that has the condition. Below is a list of such myths and why they are erroneous.
Alzheimer’s is inherited
This is only partially true. While there are cases where genetics is responsible, recent research has revealed a stronger link to preexisting health conditions and lifestyle choices. Examples of these include heart disease, elevated blood pressure, diabetes and head injuries. It is also believed that engaging in activities such as physical exercise and keeping one’s weight under control is the key to preventing it.
Only Seniors Get It
This is perhaps the most pervasive myth, that only people over the age of 65 can get dementia. Though it is true that the majority of cases occur in those who are sixty five and above, the disease can also occur in those as young as 30.
Men and Women are equally at Risk
It is true that both males and females develop Alzheimer’s. However, research shows that two thirds of patients in the U.S. that develop this disease are actually women. Though there are a number of theories as to why this is the case, no one knows for sure. Some scientists believe there is an association with estrogen deficiency once a woman reaches menopause.
Alzheimer’s has a Low Survival Rate
Though no cure has been found for Alzheimer’s yet, it is not the number one cause of fatality within the U.S. The majority of patients who develop it can expect to live between 4 and 8 years once diagnosed but there have been instances where patients lived twenty years.
During the earliest stages a patient will experience moderate memory loss and then their symptoms will progress gradually until they lose greater mental and physical acuity. By the latter stage patients might also manifest breathing issues which can cause pneumonia, and if they forget to drink or eat their bodies will be depleted of nutrients.
There is Little Hope for People Who Have it
While caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can certainly be challenging, this doesn’t mean they cannot live a meaningful existence. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the more effectively it can be treated especially when patients take the proper medications. Furthermore, it helps when the person with the disease seeks assistance from a support group so they can develop ways to revise their life goals. When tended to by a loving caretaker, people with this disease can enjoy life years after their diagnosis.
Why is Alzheimer’s So Difficult to Cure?
There are many reasons why the scientific/medical community has failed to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Part of it is funding. The brain is incredibly complex and so is Alzheimer’s. Before a disease can be cured, scientists must first understand what causes it, but due to its complexity the scientific community has multiple theories as to what causes it and humans trials have so far failed produce a desirable outcome.