There are many misconceptions that surround Alzheimer’s disease – how the disease is developed, it’s connection to dementia, and options for treatment, among others. Some are reinforced by mainstream media, pop culture, or simply speculation. If you’re loved one has recently been diagnosed with dementia, you may have questions about these myths – what’s true and what’s not. Here are three of the most common myths we’ve heard – and the truth behind them:
Alzheimer’s is a hereditary condition.
If you have a relative with Alzheimer’s, you may be at a higher risk for the disease, but this is rarely due to genetics. However, environmental and lifestyle factors often account for this correlation. Alzheimer’s is linked to single-gene mutations along chromosomes 1, 14, 19 and 21. While there are cases in which the mutation has been passed down genetically, it is not the norm.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are the same.
This is an “all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares” situation. Alzheimer’s is dementia, but dementia doesn’t necessarily mean Alzheimer’s. Dementia is an umbrella term for a variety of brain disorders that can impair an individual’s memory, concentration, visual sensibilities, or ability to communicate and reason. However, different forms of dementia surface in different ways – memory loss isn’t always the primary symptom. While Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, other forms include vascular dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Alzheimer’s manifests itself with nearly all the “umbrella” symptoms, including memory loss, and impairment of communication and visual sensibilities.
Alzheimer’s is a lost cause – there is nothing you can do to help someone who has been diagnosed.
Though no one has discovered a cure for Alzheimer’s (yet), there are accommodations you can make to help stay off symptoms, boost brain activity and make your loved one as comfortable as possible. For example, healthy food choices can help to prevent early on-set and progression of the disease – these foods include greens, fruits, nuts, and fish. Encouraging your loved one to engage in outdoor activities can be beneficial as well, helping to reduce agitation and signs of depression that often follow an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Have more questions? Please contact one of our memory care experts at (405)-330-2222 or send us a message!