World Alzheimer's Day: Facts about Alzheimer's and dementia

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September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day.

Every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer's disease. More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for those living with Alzheimer's and dementia.

Today, the Home Instead network will host educational webinars with tips and resources to help people better understand the behaviors associated with the disease. Click here to see details on how you can attend.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. 

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Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time.  Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

Ten early signs and symptoms:

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life

• Challenges in planning or solving problems

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or at leisure

• Confusion with time or place

• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

• New problems with words in speaking or writing

• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

• Decreased or poor judgment

• Withdrawal from work or social activities

• Changes in mood and personality

Click here to learn more

Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. But Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease (also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s).

Alzheimer's worsens over time. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.

The Alzheimer’s Association released the following disease facts and figures for 2017:

• Alzheimer's disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

• More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's.

• Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease.

• Since 2000, deaths from heart disease have decreased by 14% while deaths from Alzheimer's disease have increased by 89%.

• In 2016 more than 15 million Americans provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care for those with Alzheimer's or other dementias, valued at more than $230 billion.

• Alzheimer's is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed.

• Alzheimer's disease kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

• 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another dementia.

Alzheimer's has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer's treatments cannot stop Alzheimer's from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.