Thursday, November 08, 2007

Alzheimer's Awareness Month

This month is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Anybody that has watched Grey’s Anatomy or Rescue Me, has seen the devastating effects it can have on both the family and the individual involved. Early intervention is encouraged by promoting memory screenings because sometimes an early diagnosis can thwart the advance of this disease. Determining the cause and treating it can be undertaken sooner rather than later. In an effort to promote awareness and early diagnosis, free confidential screenings will be offered throughout the country this month with follow up resources and educational materials being offered as well. This event is being carried out in collaboration with health care professionals and professional organizations throughout the United States.

There are several factors that can contribute to memory loss. Vitamin deficiencies, lack of sleep, thyroid hormone deficiencies, stress, and vascular dementia are common ones. Some loss in memory acuity is expected as you age especially in menopausal women but the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are far more serious. The National Memory Screening Organization encourages people to find screenings in their area for themselves and their loved ones this month. They offer several aging successfully tips for all of us. Limiting alcohol consumption is prudent because it has a toxic effect on the brain. Controlling hypertension is important not only for general health but it can be a factor in developing dementia. Getting adequate exercise by walking for thirty minutes a day is advised. Maintaining an active, stimulating social life, and keeping your mind fit by doing crossword puzzles and playing card games such as bridge is also a healthy pursuit in the avoidance of dementia. Managing stress is also important as is taking vitamins.
Diagnosing and treating depression is key because depressed elders have a higher rate of dementia. Regular doctor visits are also crucial.

Seeking a cure is important but ensuring the right care is given once a diagnosis has been made is equally as important, in order to maintain quality of life for the individual and families involved. Please consider a holiday gift donation to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.