10 Common Myths about Alzheimer’s
Sometimes it’s difficult to know what’s the Truth and what’s Not. A tall-tale can be retold so many times that it sounds true. There are more than a few myths about Alzheimer’s too.
Here are 10 Myths often repeated that need correcting–
Myth 1: You can’t have Alzheimer’s if you are able to remember things from long ago
- Memories are lost to Alzheimer’s patients from newest first– then work there way backwards. Older memories will be retained for the longest time. A person with Alzheimer’s may remember a childhood friend when they have already forgotten their spouse and own children.
Myth 2: Only old people have Alzheimer’s
- Alzheimer’s can strike people in their 30s, 40s and even 50s. This type of Alzheimer’s is known as Early-Onset Alzheimer’s, it is estimated that there are as many as 5.3 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. This includes 5.1 million people age 65 and over and 200,000 people under age 65 with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Myth 3: People don’t die from Alzheimer’s disease
- No one survives Alzheimer’s. It destroys brain cells, causes memory loss and stops the ability to learn. All of a person’s cognitive abilities are affected, causing irrational behavior and eventually loss of body functions. Although the progression of the disease may happen slowly over many years, it takes away a person’s identity along with their ability to relate to others, eventually they are no longer able to walk, talk or even eat.
Myth 4: Drinking out of aluminum cans or cooking in aluminum pots and pans can lead to Alzheimer’s disease
- During the 1960s and 1970s, aluminum emerged as a possible suspect in Alzheimer’s. This suspicion led to concern about exposure to aluminum through everyday sources such as pots and pans, beverage cans, antacids and antiperspirants. Since then, studies have failed to confirm any role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s. Experts today focus on other areas of research, and few believe that everyday sources of aluminum pose any threat.
Myth 5: Aspartame causes memory loss.
- Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, marketed under such brand names as Nutrasweet and Equal, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in all foods and beverages in 1996. Since approval, concerns about aspartame’s health effects have been raised. According to the FDA, as of May 2006, the agency had not been presented with any scientific evidence that would lead to change its conclusions on the safety of aspartame for most people. The agency says its conclusions are based on more than 100 laboratory and clinical studies.
Myth 6: Flu shots increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- A theory linking flu shots to a greatly increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease has been proposed by a U.S. doctor whose license was suspended by the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners. Several mainstream studies link flu shots and other vaccinations to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and overall better health.
* A Nov. 27, 2001, Canadian Medical Journal report suggests older adults who were vaccinated against diphtheria or tetanus, polio, and influenza seemed to have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those not receiving these vaccinations. The full text of this report is posted on the journal’s Web site.
* A report in the Nov. 3, 2004, JAMA found that annual flu shots for older adults were associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes. The abstract of that report is posted on PubMed.
Myth 7: There is a vaccine to prevent Alzheimer’s
- At this time there’s no known way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease because the cause isn’t known. Researchers are learning more about Alzheimer’s all the time but haven’t yet identified the reason that brain cells progressively fail. The best you can do is try to reduce your risk by staying active mentally and physically and healthy through diet and exercise.
Myth 8: Everyone gets Alzheimer’s if they live long enough
- It is true, almost all of us forget things occasionally, and more so after middle age. But Alzheimer’s is a disease where brain cells die, cognition declines, personality and behavior change drastically. It isn’t the memory loss of normal aging but something very different.
Myth 9: There are treatments available to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
- At this time, there is no treatment to cure, delay or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. FDA-approved drugs temporarily slow worsening of symptoms for about 6 to 12 months, on average, for about half of the individuals who take them.
Myth 10: I won’t get Alzheimer’s because my parents don’t have it.
- Alzheimer’s is not always inherited. Both parents may have Alzheimer’s and you may not get it. Neither may have it and you may go on to have Alzheimer’s. Although there is no sure way to know if you will get Alzheimer’s or not, it does appear to be more likely that you may have Alzheimer’s if others in your family have the disease.
- Early-Onset Alzheimer’s is the exception (Alzheimer’s diagnosed before the age of 50) does show a greater likelihood of developing in members of the same family.
An Early Symptom that signals Alzheimer’s is when they are no longer able to tell time by the hands on a clock.
My Mom would call me every morning for the Time, Day and Date. I had no clue that she could no longer read the hands on a clock.
Another unusual thing I noticed before Mom came to live with me was that she could no longer use the Remote Control for the TV. She would call me constantly because the TV was off and she couldn’t turn it on.
It took awhile before I discovered she was trying to turn the Television on with the digital buttons on her hand-held Telephone.