7 Myths about Alzheimer’s disease

24 Nov
2014
By Amelia Smith

The human brain is one of the most vital parts of our body. It is difficult to imagine anything without it quite literally. Brain diseases are one of the most feared forms of diseases someone can suffer from. Not only is the functional ability lost but also, the cognitive ability, which is what makes a person he or she is. Alzheimer’s disease is the most feared of all the brain diseases. It affects a person’s memory, learning and reasoning. There are many myths about diseases in general and there are some myths about Alzheimer too. Let’s take a look at these myths about this dreaded disease.

Alzheimer’s disease

Memory loss is one of the basic myths. We aren’t refuting the fact that there is memory loss in Alzheimer’s but the question is to what extent is the person forgetting things. A few mistakes in people’s names and misplacing your car keys aren’t the symptoms. Alzheimer’s affects your more potent thoughts and memories. It affects your true mind as opposed to forgetfulness which may just be a result of a busy, burdened or stressed mind. A patient suffering from this disease starts to forget his daily routine, his habits, names of people he loves and all this starts to affect his functionality.

The next myth about Alzheimer’s is that a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent the disease. Sadly there is no proof behind this thought. Scientific evidence fails to clearly support that positive changes in your lifestyle can help you avoid Alzheimer’s. Studies say that activities like engaging in puzzles, exercising regularly and following a good diet, do help lower the chances of getting the disease; however, there is no direct correlation between the two. There have been cases of both, a marathon running fit man and a couch potato who has difficulty looking at his toes. There is no evidence to suggest that poor lifestyle is the cause behind Alzheimer’s. But a healthy lifestyle is obviously a good choice.

Another myth about the disease is that it is only the old people who suffer from Alzheimer’s. While it affects people who are older than 65 years in most cases, however, people in their 20s can also get the disease. Early onset of Alzheimer’s typically starts at 40s but this is most linked to genetics.

Genes is often blamed as one of the main causes for Alzheimer’s. This is false. While genetics is responsible for the disease, there isn’t any one particular gene that can be attributed to lock someone’s fate of getting Alzheimer’s. The variation in genes is also not a sure shot factor. For example, the APOE gene has many variations and one is linked with Alzheimer’s, however, not everyone with the variation gets the disease and not everyone who has Alzheimer’s has the variation in their gene.

Depression can cause Alzheimer’s disease is another myth. While depression is an early sign of the disease, depression isn’t the cause. Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s usually show signs of mild depression on the onset of it. An extreme case of depression in an Alzheimer’s patient isn’t a common case.

Next myth about the disease is that it is same as dementia. Alzheimer’s and dementia both point towards memory loss. But while dementia is a broader term that denotes memory loss, Alzheimer’s is a common form of dementia. There are 70 different causes of dementia like Parkinson’s disease, strokes, Lewy body dementia, etc.

The final myth about Alzheimer’s is that dietary supplements help you prevent the disease. There is no evidence to prove that the supplements help in preventing Alzheimer’s. Most dietary supplements which have been thoroughly tested are ginkgo biloba, high-dose vitamins and fish oil. There is sure clue that these help.

Busting myths about diseases is an important aspect as it makes the patient more aware and helps them recognize the symptoms without over-burdening themselves with false or untrue information. A disease like Alzheimer’s needs attention and these myths need to be busted to spread awareness.

 

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Amelia Smith

Nutritionist, herbalist, health and medicine writer and yoga enthusiast, Amelia Smith, is a professional in the health, nutrition and diet industry.

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