September was World Alzheimer’s Month but this disease, and the lives lost and affected by it should be discussed year-round. It is crucial to spread awareness about the existence of this illness and exhort our fellow scientists to continue researching efforts to find a viable treatment for this incurable disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder of the brain, meaning that it causes a gradual deterioration of main neurological pathways in the brain. Such deterioration affects memory, thought, and behavior, with the most common symptom being forgetfulness. Other symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:
- Confusion of time and/or space
- Mood and behavior changes
- Difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking
The majority of Alzheimer’s patients are 65 years old or older, but there are cases where symptoms appear at an even younger age. While Alzheimer’s is a genetic disease and may not be fully prevented, doctors often offer several recommendations of lifestyle changes that can be made to avoid or slow down the deterioration of our neurological pathways. Such suggestions include leading a healthier lifestyle by:
- Avoiding smoking
- Eating a balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats
- Being physically active
- Exercising your brain with cognitive thinking skills, such as solving problems or learning a new language
Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and while there is not yet a definitive cure to this disease, scientists are currently working hard towards developing one. Right now, it is important to learn more about the disease and spread awareness about topics like prevention and treatment.
To learn more about how the symptoms of this disease affect our population today, check out our Matrix2Metrics platform for data on people who have reported difficulty remembering and/or concentrating, two common symptoms of Alzheimer’s that can often show up right before diagnosis.