Alzheimer’s is a devastating, debilitating and incurable disease of the brain. Its symptoms develop slowly, although researchers now believe that the actual neurological damage begins years or even decades before the first problems with memory or confusion surface. Those symptoms are progressive and ultimately rob the individual of mental and physical function.
Facts about Alzheimer’s:
- It is one type of dementia. It is NOT a normal part of aging.
- Approximately 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today, with one new case diagnosed every 69 seconds.
- The prevalence of Alzheimer’s is projected to increase sharply in coming decades because of the nation’s aging population. By 2030, the number of cases could exceed 7.7 million.
- Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
- It is the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, slowed or cured.
- One in 10 adults is responsible for providing or arranging care for a relative or friend with the disease
Sad statistics, huh? Perhaps the one most upsetting is #5– the only cause of death among the top 10 that canNOT currently be prevented, slowed, or cured. But, scientists are working hard on trying to change that!
The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (located right here in Phoenix, AZ) has created the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry in hopes of finding effective ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease as quickly as possible.
The Registry is a community of people interested in making an impact on Alzheimer’s research to help stop the disease. It will provide regular updates on the latest scientific advances and news, as well as information on overall brain health. And to overcome one of the greatest obstacles to clinical research, the Registry will support enrollment into a variety of Alzheimer’s prevention studies across the country.
There is no cost to you and the only requirement to join is really simple– you just have to be 18 or older! 🙂 By signing up, you will have access to information and resources about what’s being done to fight this disease. You might also be asked to be part of a research study, which is always your choice and you have no obligation to be part of. Becoming a member is quick and easy, so please take a minute to join the registry.
Why am I asking you to join?
Aside from those scary statistics above, I have a personal connection to the disease (oh how I wish I didn’t!).
Meet my grandma: That’s her 29 months ago, holding 5-day-old Little Brother. She was still bright, still mostly herself. At that time, she had just recently received a “mild cognitive impairment” diagnosis, but we all knew what was coming. Now, just 29 months later, my grandma is gone although physically, she is still very much alive. A woman who prided herself (sometimes to a fault) on being in-shape and healthy, her 82-year old body is still in mostly good working order…there’s just one MAJOR problem, her brain is not. Alzheimer’s has ravaged her brain to the point that she’s no longer herself. She isn’t interested in much anymore (other than watching tv); her mood & emotions are unpredictable and often inappropriate for the situation; she repeats herself constantly (sometimes sharing the same thing multiple times in a 5 minute time span); her “filter” is disappearing- often saying things that would embarrass herself and are embarrassing or hurtful to others. Thus, in essence, my grandma is gone.
To say that it’s horrific is an understatement. It’s hard to process and hard to deal with emotionally. The stress on the family is immense (you can read my uncle’s thoughts about it here), unimaginably so for the primary caregiver. In this case, the primary caregiver is my mom. It’s taken a toll. And, unfortunately, we know that it will get worse from here. Unless something else takes my grandma physically, the Alzheimer’s will eventually take that too. Her neurological functioning will continue to decline until she won’t be able to walk or perhaps even swallow. It’s hard to even think about!
There’s nothing we can do to save my grandma from this now. But, I’m hoping that with things like the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry, we can save others in the future. I don’t want my parents to go through this and I certainly don’t want to! So, that’s why I’m signing up for the Alzheimer’s Registry and I urge you to do the same!
Then, go tell all your friends to do this same in hopes of ending this terrible disease!
If you’re interested in more information on Alzheimer’s Disease, here are a list of resources:
- Alzheimer’s Warning Signs (everyone should read this!! Now, in hindsight, it’s evident that my grandma started exhibiting some of these warning signs at least 6 years before her diagnosis).
- Alzheimer’s vs. normal aging
- Alzheimer’s: What you need to know
- Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry (5,000 people are currently enrolled; the goal is to reach 100,000 enrolled by June 2013)
Do YOU have a personal connection to Alzheimer’s?
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign for the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute Initiative and The Motherhood. I took part in a webinar to learn more about Alzheimer’s & the Alzheimer’s Registry. All facts & quotes above are from the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. However, all opinions & experiences are my own, as always.