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Common Alzheimer’s Disease Myths

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Alzheimer’s disease is a high-profile medical condition than many older people are concerned about.  Because there is so much interest in the disease, the suspected causes and potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are often reported in the media.

Unfortunately, a lot of this reporting has been low-quality or later found to be incorrect.  Many people who have read or watched these reports may have the incorrect information, leading to Alzheimer’s disease myths being passed through the community.  Here are some of the common Alzheimer’s disease myths debunked!

Exposure to aluminum causes Alzheimer’s disease

During the 1970s, scientists began to suspect that the consumption of aluminum played a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.  Aluminum is often consumed by eating antacids, using aluminum cookware and drinking from aluminum cans.  The media ran with the story even though scientists did not confirm aluminum was the cause.  To this day, some people still think aluminum causes Alzheimer’s disease, despite there being no scientific evidence for it.

Flu shots can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

A doctor in the United States made the claim that flu shots greatly increased the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  He has since been discredited and has had his license suspended.  The research into flu shots and other forms of vaccination shows that they actually reduce your risk of having Alzheimer’s disease and dying prematurely.

Silver dental fillings can cause Alzheimer’s disease

Another theory that became popular in the 1980s is that silver fillings can cause dementia.  Because fillings contain mercury, silver, and tin, people suspected they were unsafe and capable of damaging the brain.  Research into the subject has found no link between dental fillings and Alzheimer’s disease.

Being forgetful is a sign that Alzheimer’s disease is developing

While it is true that memory loss is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, simply being forgetful doesn’t mean you have the condition.  There are many reversible conditions that have memory loss as a symptom.

Memory loss is a normal part of aging

After a person reaches 30 they will experience some cognitive decline.  However, the amount of memory loss you experience shouldn’t dramatically increase when you are old.  If you struggle to remember the names of common household objects, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

You have to be old to get Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia

While it is true that your risk of having Alzheimer’s or dementia increases as you get older, it is possible to get it at a relatively young age.  “Early onset dementia” can occur in people who are in their 40s or 50s.  There are currently more than 200,000 people with this form of dementia in the United States.  Some of the forms of dementia that can occur at a young age can be caused by Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or HIV/AIDs.

Aspartame causes Alzheimer’s disease

This is another frequently repeated myth, particularly on social media.  Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is popular in the United States.  There is no evidence suggesting a link between aspartame and Alzheimer’s disease.   The Alzheimer’s Association says it is a myth and the FDA also rejects the claim.

If your parents have Alzheimer’s disease you will get it also

There is a hereditary factor in play and your risk of having Alzheimer’s disease is higher if your parents have it.  However, even if both parents have Alzheimer’s disease, it does not mean you will definitely get it.   There are many other contributing factors when it comes to Alzheimer’s, including lifestyle factors.

There is already a cure for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease remains incurable.  However, the medications that treat Alzheimer’s can slow the progression of the disease greatly.  There are also some promising research projects on the horizon involving stem cells.  Scientists suspect they may be able to get the brain to repair itself using stem cells.

Your life is over if you have Alzheimer’s disease

This is absolutely not true!  Many people enjoy years of happiness after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  The disease takes a long time to progress and medications can slow its progression even more.

How Home Care Can Help Alzheimer’s Patients

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to obtain some help around the home.  Caregivers can help you in a number of ways including:

  • Performing domestic duties around the home
  • Delivering food or cooking meals in your home
  • Assistant with personal hygiene
  • Providing transportation to medical appointments and social engagements
  • Assistance with medication management and much more

If you have any questions about common Alzheimer’s disease myths and home care services, contact All Heart Home Care at 619-736-4677.  We offer in-home consultations and would love to discuss the many home care services we provide!

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