November 2, 2009

November is national Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

ATLANTA — There are nearly 120,000 Georgians suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to rise to 160,000 by the year 2025. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging Services (DAS) encourages Georgians to know the warning signs of Alzheimer’s so they can get treatment as soon as possible.

“Every 70 seconds, someone is diagnosed with a dementia such as Alzheimer’s in the United States,” said DAS Director Maria Greene.

“As the Baby Boomer generation ages and medical advances extend life expectancy, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias will continue to grow. We encourage people to know the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s. Early detection increases a person’s chance of getting treatments that can relieve symptoms and prolong independence.”

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for up to 80 percent of cases. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and costs $148 billion in annual health care costs.

Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells and affects memory, thinking, and behavior. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 warning signs that indicate a person should see their doctor:

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life - a common sign that includes forgetting recently learned information, dates and events. This kind of memory loss is different from typical memory loss where the person remembers what was forgotten later.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems - a person may struggle to follow a plan or recipe, or suddenly can no longer keep track of monthly bills. This is different from making occasional errors when keeping a checkbook or executing a plan.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure - this can include struggling to complete daily tasks, being unable to find a familiar location or forgetting the rules of a favorite game. This is different from simply having trouble doing complex tasks such as recording a television show.

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