How much do you know about Alzheimer's disease? According to the Alzheimer's Association's 2010 data, 5.3 million people have this neurodegenerative disease. In 2007, 74,632 people died from Alzheimer's disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But despite the number of people who have been touched by the disorder and the coverage due to well-known people, such as Ronald Reagan, having it, several myths about Alzheimer's disease have been floating around.
Alzheimer's disease is just another part of aging—everyone has memory problems as they get older
No. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are much more severe than any memory loss that occurs with the aging process. In the early stage of Alzheimer's disease, patients may get lost while traveling on well-known routes and they may misplace items. But as the disease progresses, the memory problems become more problematic. For example, MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, notes that patients forget information regarding their life history and current events, and cannot recognize their family members in the last stage of the disease.
And as a side note: memory loss due to aging is even debated. The Alzheimer's Association states that while some people complain of memory loss as they age, “many people feel that their memory becomes less sharp as they grow older, but determining whether there is any scientific basis for this belief is a research challenge still being addressed.”
Alzheimer's disease only affects memory, so if my loved one can remember things, she can't have Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease affects many cognitive functions, such as memory, but the disorder can also affect emotions and behaviors.
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