September is World Alzheimer's Month Awareness

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September... the month when school starts (although some open their doors in August), fall begins, the weather cools off, and football games are plentiful. What else happens in September? Glad you asked.

September is World Alzheimer's Month. This emphasis is led by Alzheimer's Disease International with the goal of raising awareness on how to reduce the risk of dementia.

Alzheimer's Disease in the World

  • In 2013, 44.4 million people worldwide were estimated to have dementia, with 62% of these people living in low and middle-income countries (Alzheimer's Disease International).
  • 7.7 million cases of dementia develop each year worldwide.
  • The number of people with dementia in the world is expected to increase to 75.6 million in 2030 and 135.5 million in 2050, unless this trajectory is changed.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Other types include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.
  • In 2010, dementia was estimated to cost 604 billion US dollars/year. The biggest contributor to these costs is the need for ongoing care, as opposed to acute medical interventions and care.
  • Dementia is the world's leading cause of disability and dependence (requiring care).
  • Caregivers often include family and friends (which is a more common scenario in lower income countries) as well as more formal care providers, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities- more frequently found in higher income countries.
  • The lifespan of someone with dementia is shortened, with an average survival length after diagnosis of 7.1 years for Alzheimer's disease and 3.9 years for someone with vascular dementia, according to the World Health Organization. These numbers do vary widely, however, based on the person's other medical conditions and general health.
  • According to Alzheimer's Disease International, a new case of dementia develops every 4 seconds worldwide.
  • Since medications and treatments have not been successful in treating dementia, the emphasis is on reducing the risk of developing dementia. Alzheimer's Disease International has chosen to focus on 5 ways to do this:
    1. Take Care of Your Heart.

      Read more: Does High Blood Pressure Really Affect My Dementia Risk?

    2. Physical Exercise.

      Read more: What Kind of Physical Exercise is Best for Your Brain?

    3. Eat a Healthy Diet.

      Read more: 11 Foods to Eat that Are Good for Your Brain 

    4. Mental Activity.

      Read more: Mental Exercise: 12 Ways to Stretch Your Mind

    5. Be Socially Active.

    Suggested for You:

    10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's

    10 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

    Sources:

    Alzheimer's Disease International. Dementia: A Global Epidemic.  http://visual.ly/dementia-global-epidemic

    Alzheimer's Disease International.  Dementia Statistics. http://www.alz.co.uk/research/statistics

    Alzheimer's Disease International. World Alzheimer’s Month 2014 - Dementia: Can we reduce the risk? http://www.alz.co.uk/world-alzheimers-month

    Alzheimers New Zealand. World Alzheimer's Month. 

    Center for Disease Control and Prevention. September 16, 2013. September is World Alzheimer's Month. http://www.cdc.gov/features/worldalzheimersday/

    World Health Organization. Dementia. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs362/en/

    World Health Organization and Alzheimer's Disease International. 2012. Dementia: A Public Health Priority. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2012/9789241564458_eng.pdf

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