Published in the March 15 – 28, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Alzheimer’s is one of the most feared brain diseases. The Alzheimer’s Association this month released information regarding memory loss and the rate in which the disease is growing.

According to its report, in 2017 an American will develop memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s every 66 seconds. The association estimates that 47 million people worldwide suffer from some form of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about Alzheimer’s disease and the truths behind them.

Myth 1: Memory loss is a natural part of aging

Over the years, people believed that going senile was just part of growing old, but please keep in mind that the disease isn’t inevitable as we age While age is the number 1 risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, that doesn’t mean that you’ll develop it as you age. In fact, experts revealed that a huge percentage of seniors don’t develop it.

Myth 2: If your relatives have it, you’ll develop it too

Although genetics play a role in the development of the disease, only a small percentage (about 5 to 7 percent) of the cases is linked to familial genes. If you have a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s, you have a slightly higher risk of getting the disease. Though, it’s not an assurance that you’ll get it down the road.

What’s important to understand is that people who don’t have the genes can develop the disease; while people who do can remain disease-free.

Myth 3: Only old people get Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is often diagnosed in people over 65 years old, but there is such a thing as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, which affects people at such an early age. People can get it in their 20s or 30s, but the typical age for early onset Alzheimer’s is 40s and 50s.

Myth 4: There is a cure for Alzheimer’s disease

As of today, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, treatments and medications can help manage the symptoms and help improve quality of life.

Myth 5: Alzheimer’s disease is not fatal

Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease. It does not only rob people of their memory, it also destroys brain cells, which leads to the failure of other essential systems in the body.

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at
Robert Airoldi