Last year Gram was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The news couldn’t have been more of a shock. Gram was only just over 70. A beautiful, strong, vibrant woman, she has always been my example of the kind of woman I’d like to become. Successful in her career, active in her community, and an exceptionally kind soul, it broke my heart to know that she would suffer the rest of her life from this terrible and untreatable disease. Unfortunately, Gram is just one of a growing number who are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. And I am just one of the 1/3rd of the U.S. adult population who has a family member with the disease. Here are some of the awful facts and statistics about this disease:
- Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and is not a normal part of aging
- Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. And the only one of the top 10 causes of death that cannot currently be prevented, treated or cured
- One in eight Americans over age 65—and nearlyone in two Americans over age 85—is currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
- Approximately 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today, with one new case diagnosed every 69 seconds.
Last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend a conference presented by Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (one of the nation’s largest non-profit health providers). Many of the bloggers attending the conference have a loved one with Alzheimer’s. What I learned was both disheartening and hopeful.
Alzheimer’s research is only just in its infancy. Scientists are beginning to be able to identify Alzheimer’s markers through PET scans of the brain. Unfortunately, it takes informed and observant family members to recognize that their loved one is exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s and request further investigation.
Because Alzheimer’s is such a devastating disease many people simply cannot face the fact that their loved one may be afflicted. Denial delays diagnosis and, therefore, treatment. Unfortunately, treatment is most effective when started in the earliest stages of the disease.
So, how do we, as a society, as families, and as individuals fight this disease and the devastating toll it is taking on our loved ones and our aged community members?
The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute website is an invaluable resource for those seeking information on Alzheimer’s. Recently, the Institute created the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. Anyone over the age of 18 can register and keep up to date on the latest news and research. In addition, if you choose, you may potentially help further research by participating in Alzheimer’s research studies.
Put simply the Registry seeks to:
- Keep enrollees informed of latest news and advocacy to drive focus on Alzheimer’s
- Provide an unprecedented resource of potential study participants for prevention research
- Offer valuable resources of simple, easy to understand news in partnership with AlzForum
What can I do?
If at any time while reading this post you felt your emotions stir, hoped nothing like this would ever happen to you or your loved ones, or wondered how you could help here is what you can do…
Register with the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. I registered last week. Registration is easy, fast, everything is kept confidential, and you can select what kind of emails you receive from the Registry. Your simple act of registering with the Alzheimer’s Prevention registry will go a long way is furthering Alzheimer’s research and, hopefully, one day finding a cure.
Alzheimer’s vs. normal aging – http://www.banneralz.org/
Alzheimer’s vs. dementia, and prevention – http://banneralz.org/patients-
Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry- http://endalznow.org/
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and The Motherhood. Stats and data were provided by Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. All opinions expressed are honest and are my own.