“Knowledge is the antidote to fear” the oft quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson is distinguished for saying – and never has fear been a more potential barrier and knowledge a higher commodity need to lift the stigma that surrounds dementia. It is not a specific disease, but instead dementia is a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities.

To bridge the gap of understanding, World Alzheimer’s Month

is celebrated every year on September 21 to raise awareness and challenge the stigmatization and misinformation that surrounds dementia. 

The 2020 World Alzheimer’s Month reminds us with their theme “Let’s Talk About Dementia” to pull back the curtain of fear and stigma to help ourselves and those we love deal with dementia.

According to the just published report Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Development Pipeline 2020 Alzheimer’ disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that currently produces dementia in 5.8 million U.S. citizens and this number will increase to 13.5 million by 2050. AD dementia is projected to have a devastating impact on global populations by 2050 with 131 million affected. The costs of AD are accelerating—rising from $1 trillion globally in 2018 to a projected $2 trillion in 2030. Means of preventing, delaying the onset, slowing the progression, and improving the symptoms of AD are urgently needed.

Though the medical terms are often confused, dementia is a collective term for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behavior and emotion. Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are the most common types of dementia, responsible for up to 90% of cases of dementia. 

Gerontologist Lissa Jean-Pierre, MD, AssociatesMD of Florida, explains that “though as we age, we may experience some normal age-related changes in thinking and memory, if memory loss is interfering with daily life, this is not part of the normal aging process. Patients should always consult with their physicians to discuss what is healthy aging markers, and what are not.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Alzheimer’s progresses slowly progresses with age, rendering it often. The disease often goes unnoticed until significant damage has occurred.

Symptoms may include: 

  • loss of memory 
  • difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying 
  • difficulty in performing previously routine tasks 
  • personality and mood changes 

Other markers may include:

  • Age: Older people are more susceptible to this disease. The risk of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after the age of 65.
  • Gender: Women are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as a man. Hormonal changes during menopause and the fact that women usually live longer contribute to this.
  • Family history: Most cases of Alzheimer’s are not inherited. In those rare few cases where a heredity pattern is seen, the disease starts well before the age of 65.
  • Lifestyle and health: People who live an unhealthy lifestyle are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Experts say that even if someone in your family has Alzheimer’s, you can reduce your risk by following a healthy lifestyle.
  • Certain diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and depression are associated with an increased chance of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or a way to curtail its progression, the good news is that there are drugs and non-drug options that may help treat symptoms. And, there are drug innovations in the clinical development pipeline that provide hope and promise. 

Dr. Lissa Jean-Pierre suggests that you schedule an appointment with your physician to understand available options to improve quality of life for you, your caregivers and loved ones. 

Ready to see your physician, or are you new to our practice?  Click AssociatesMD Appointment to schedule an office or virtual appointment. Your wellness journey is our journey, too. Call us to connect at 1-844-954-DOCS. 
For more than 20 years, AssociatesMD medical group’s multi-specialty physicians have cared for patients in locations throughout Broward with unwavering compassion and uncompromised dedication to excellence. AssociatesMD medical group has expanded its virtual visits, helping patients access virtual care as an easy, personalized, and cost effective way to receive timely access to quality tele-healthcare delivery from physicians known for their innovative care and dedication to excellence. https://associatesmd.com