When the term “Alzheimer’s disease” is heard, forgetfulness is the first impression that comes to mind. While memory loss is one of the main symptoms of the illness, there are other assumptions commonly made about the disease. Below are some of the most common Alzheimer’s myths debunked.
Myth #1: Only older people get Alzheimer’s.
It is true that Alzheimer’s disease generally affects those over 65 years old, as age is the greatest risk factor for the disease. However, Younger-onset Alzheimer’s (or early-onset), affects individuals under the age of 65, impacting 1 in every 1000 people under the age of 65 in North America.
Myth #2: If someone in my family has Alzheimer’s, I will get it as well.
This is one of the most common misconceptions surrounding the topic of Alzheimer’s disease. Although Alzheimer’s does have a genetic component, there is no certainty that if a family member has the disease that their decedents will as well. The only type of Alzheimer’s that is strictly inherited is early onset Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD) which accounts for less than 5% of all Alzheimer’s cases.
Myth #3: If I have memory loss, I have Alzheimer’s.
40% of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss, and this is a completely normal part of the aging process. On the other hand, if the memory loss is interfering with the ability to function and communicate on a daily basis, it may require medical attention.
Myth #4: Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented by taking certain measures.
Unfortunately, there is no preventative measure that can be taken to stop anyone from getting Alzheimer’s. Nevertheless, certain lifestyle choices can be helpful in lowering the risk of developing the disease and slowing down the progression. These include eating vitamin-rich foods, exercising on a regular basis and challenging your mind daily.
Myth #5: There are several treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
There is no treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are some medications that have been proven to help manage some of the symptoms.