By the year 2050, it is expected that the number of older adults living with Alzheimer’s Disease will rise to 12.7 million.
Imagine sitting in a doctor’s office listening to someone tell you that you have a disease that will cause you to lose your memories, your individuality, and your independence. If you are one of the 6.5 million adults over the age of 65 currently living with Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States, you likely have already lived this heart wrenching conversation1 . Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is devastating for the person effected, as well as the family and friends who love and care for them. And the numbers are on the rise. By the year 2050, it is expected that the number of older adults living with Alzheimer’s Disease will rise to 12.7 million*2.
Scientists have been working feverishly to try to come up with effective treatments. We’ve learned a lot over the past decade about diagnosing, recommendations for lifestyle changes such as exercise and diet modification, and potential treatment options. We’ve also learned how to recognize risk factors such as genetics and the presence of abnormal proteins in the blood or brain linked to the development of Alzheimer’s.
So, what do you do if you are concerned you may develop dementia, or you or your loved one is already struggling with memory impairment? My advice is to make sure you are minimizing your risks by living a healthy lifestyle and to look for a clinical trial in your area. While clinical trials are no guarantee of preventing cognitive decline, they provide hope. They also provide the opportunity to get some answers regarding if you have a genetic predisposition and if you have any other biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia as well as the opportunity to participate in cutting edge research.
I often tell my patients if you choose to do nothing, there is a 100% chance you will get worse. This disease is progressive and relentless. However, if you choose to participate in a trial, at least there is a chance of benefit and the opportunity to help improve the odds for the next generation.
Source: 1,2 Alzheimer’s Association. 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimers Dement 2022;18
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