Today is World Alzheimer’s Day so we clear up five common misunderstandings about this insidious and self-reducingdisease.
Myth 1: Only older people get Alzheimer’s
While most people with Alzheimer’s are over 60, it can develop when you’re younger, too. About five per cent of people get symptoms in their 30s, 40s or 50s. This is called early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Myth 2: Alzheimer’s is a normal part of ageing
While mild memory loss is a normal part of ageing, Alzheimer’s symptoms – such as forgetfulness that interferes with your daily life and disorientation – are not.
Myth 3: Alzheimer’s doesn’t affect lifespan
In Australia, dementia (Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 70 per cent of all people with dementia) is thesecond leading cause of death. Most people live seven to 10 years after they’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Myth 4: Treatments exist to stop the disease from getting worse
Certain treatments can help with Alzheimer’s symptoms, such as thinking, memory, language skills and some behavioural problems. But these medicines don’t work for everyone, or the effects are only temporary. Sadly, there is no cure or treatment to slow down the disease.
Myth 5: Alzheimer’s is caused by aluminium, flu shots, silver fillings or aspartame
There’s no scientific evidence to back that cooking with aluminium pans or drinking from aluminium cans causes Alzheimer’s. Same goes for consuming the artificial sweetener aspartame or having silver dental fillings. With regards to vaccinations, they can, in fact, lower your risk and boost your overall health.
Experts don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s disease. It could be a mix of factors linked to your genes, environment and lifestyle. Much research is still under way.