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Alzheimer’s Association encourages Americans to take charge of their brain health

Jun 8, 2024 | Lifestyles

This June during Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging all Americans to take charge of their brain health. Today, nearly seven million people age 65 and older in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s dementia, including 426,500 in New York State. The lifetime risk for the disease at age 45 is one in five for women and one in 10 for men.

Although the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is advancing age, there are a number of other factors — including physical activity, not smoking, education, challenging your mind, blood pressure and diet — that can be modified to reduce a person’s risk.

“Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month offers the perfect opportunity for Western New York residents to take charge of their brain health and take steps to potentially reduce their risk,” said Amanda Nobrega, vice president of programs for Upstate New York. “We also want to encourage anyone experiencing memory or thinking problems to talk to their doctor. There are many possible causes, and if it is Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, numerous benefits to getting a timely diagnosis.”

During June, the Alzheimer’s Association is offering these five suggestions to take charge of your brain health:

Incorporate healthy habits that may reduce the risk of cognitive decline: Research shows that adopting healthy habits may reduce the risk of cognitive decline. As many as 40% of dementia cases may be attributable to modifiable risk factors. The Alzheimer’s Association encourages individuals at any age to incorporate these 10 Healthy Habits to reduce the risk of future cognitive decline and possibly dementia.

Learn the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and other dementia: While memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, other warning signs can signal cognitive decline, including altered judgment, mood changes and challenges in decision-making. The Alzheimer’s Association offers 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s to help people identify potential early warning signs.

Be proactive in addressing memory and thinking problems: A 2022 Alzheimer’s Association report found that 60% of U.S. adults say they would not see a doctor right away if they were experiencing symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, but would wait until symptoms persisted, worsened or until family and friends expressed concern. However, early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other dementia offers the best opportunity for care, management and treatment, and there are now treatments that may slow disease progression for people in the early stage of Alzheimer’s.

Help accelerate disease-related research: Clinical trials hold the key to new and better Alzheimer’s disease treatments. Today, approximately 55,000 volunteers are needed for more than 180 clinical trials to help advance Alzheimer’s research. The Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch® is a free, easy-to-use service that connects interested individuals with appropriate trials.

Volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association: Volunteers are the key to making a difference in the lives of people facing Alzheimer’s and dementia. When you volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association, you join a network of passionate people who are working to fight this devastating disease, honor loved ones, and bring care and support to those who need it.

Nobrega encourages community members to visit the WNY Chapter website at alz.org/wny or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 to learn more about the many free education, care and support programs offered to those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers throughout the eight counties of Western New York.

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