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Five common misconceptions about Alzheimer’s explained

This article was taken from: https://news.sky.com/story/five-common-misconceptions-about-alzheimers-explained-11503466

By Sky news

On World Alzheimer’s Day, the Alzheimer’s Society puts five common misconceptions about the disease to bed.

There are about 850,000 people living with various forms of dementia in the UK, according to figures from the Alzheimer’s Society.

There are about 850,000 people living with various forms of dementia in the UK, according to figures from the Alzheimer’s Society.

World Alzheimer’s Day, on 21 September, is a focal point for charities and research organisations to raise awareness of all forms of dementia, as well as Alzheimer’s.

This week Alzheimer’s Research pledged to commit £250m to research by 2025, to help fund the continuing efforts into finding a cure for the disease.

Hilary Evans, the chief executive, said: “In the same way medical research has overcome other diseases in the past, we can make the same breakthroughs for people affected by dementia and their families.

“As a society, we have already overcome so many challenges, including developing life-changing treatments for some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Alzheimer’s and other dementias are now one of society’s biggest medical challenges, but overcoming them isn’t impossible.”

Despite Alzheimer’s and dementia affecting so many people in Britain, a poll from Alzheimer’s Research UK showed that 22% of adults thing dementia is an “inevitable” part of getting older, and only half thought it was a cause of death.

Charity Alzheimer’s Society UK has put five myths and misconceptions about dementia to bed.

  • Dementia just affects your memory-  When people think of the word dementia, then tend to also think of memory problems, but it’s not true that it only affects memory. While dementia often begins by affecting short-term memory, it can also affect people’s concentration, the way they speak, how they feel and the way they behave.

 

  • Dementia is a natural part of growing old– This is not the case, dementia doesn’t care how old you are. In the UK there are more than 40,000 people under the age of 65 living with dementia, known as young-onset dementia. We’ve all forgotten where we’ve put our phone or keys from time to time and though this does tend to happen more often as we get older, dementia is not a natural part of ageing

 

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the only type of dementia- Alzheimer’s is just one of the various diseases that cause dementia, affecting 62% of people diagnosed. Alzheimer’s disease causes nerve cells to die, damaging the tissue and chemistry of the brain. No two types of dementia are the same and different types can cause damage to different parts of the brain. Other forms of dementia include vascular dementia, the second most common type of dementia which is caused by problems with blood flow. There’s also dementia with Lewy bodies, which occurs when tiny deposits of a protein (alpha-synuclein) appear in nerve cells in the brain and frontotemporal dementia, one of the less common types of dementia, which causes damage to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

 

  • You can’t do anything to reduce your risk of dementia- The chance of developing dementia varies from person to person. Everyone has some risk because age is the strongest risk factor and we’re all growing older. While some things are out of our hands, like age and genes, there are other lifestyle changes that we can make to reduce our risk of developing dementia. Taking more exercise and making healthy lifestyle choices like eating a balanced diet, not smoking and keeping your blood pressure in check can all go a long way to help lower your risk of developing dementia.

 

  • People can’t enjoy life with dementia- Although there is still no cure for dementia, Alzheimer’s Society is investing in and accelerating dementia research so that one day we find one. Until that day comes, there are treatments and support available that can help with symptoms and managing daily life. Likewise staying active, being included and continuing to do the things they love – whether that is visiting friends or going for a coffee – can all help to support a person with dementia to live a fulfilled and purposeful life.