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Alzheimer’s disease greatly affects many seniors

Settled into his comfortable chair in the television room of his Broomall, Pensylvania, home, Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist emeritus Bill Lyon is handed the TV remote by his wife of 52 years, Ethel, for a few hours of soap operas and game shows on May 17, 2016. Lyon was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease three years ago and continues to lead an active life.
Settled into his comfortable chair in the television room of his Broomall, Pensylvania, home, Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist emeritus Bill Lyon is handed the TV remote by his wife of 52 years, Ethel, for a few hours of soap operas and game shows on May 17, 2016. Lyon was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease three years ago and continues to lead an active life. TNS

It can strike without much warning, sometimes without any symptoms at all.

It can be fatal and there is no cure for the disease.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Month. According to alz.org, there are about 5.4 million people in the U.S. living with Alzheimer’s and seniors 65 and over make up almost 90 percent. This means that one in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s or some type of dementia. It kills more people than prostate and breast cancer combined.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and it causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is a progressive disease that worsens over time. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. The average lifespan once symptoms begin to show, according to alz.or, is eight years.

Although it is more common in seniors over 65, it is not a normal part of the aging process.

52,000Approximate number of Mississippians living with Alzheimer’s disease

Treating the disease

There is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are some drug and non-drug treatments that can help improve memory.

The FDA has approved two medications for the treatment of memory loss — memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors.

There are several alternative treatments for the disease that have not been approved by the FDA. These include the use of coconut oil and vitamins and supplements including ginkgo biloba, coral calcium and Co-Q10.

Early signs of Alzheimer’s

Alz.org says there are 10 warning sings that could be signs of early onset Alzhiemer’s.

These include memory loss that disrupts daily life; changes with planning and problem solving; confusion with time and, or place; problems with words or speaking, poor judgment, inability to retrace steps; mood changes and withdrawal from social activities.

It is recommended to make an appointment with a doctor should these sign sort symptoms occur.

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