In June of 2012 we were fortunate to have the Vice –President of the New Hampshire/Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Association speak to us. Much of this information was new to us and we thought it should be shared.
Here are some highlights:
- AD is the most common type of dementia. One in eight people age 65 and older (13 percent) has AD, and nearly half of people age 85 and older (45 percent) have AD.
- AD is irreversible while some types of dementia are reversible.
- Although common, AD is not a normal part of aging.
- Genetic mutations account for only about 1% of AD cases.
- There is no treatment, but some medications postpone symptoms.
- 6th leading cause of death.
- Direct and indirect costs of AD $148 billion.
- 75% of 80+ year-old AD patients are in nursing homes compared to 4% of the general population.
- Life span after AD diagnosis averages 4-8 years. Can be up to 20 years.
Characteristics of normal aging
- Taking longer to retrieve information.
- Occasionally forgetting names or appointments.
- Occasionally having trouble finding the right word.
- Temporarily misplacing keys or wallet.
- Occasionally feeling sad or moody
- Memory changes that disrupt daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems.
- Difficulty completing familiar talks. Confusion with time or place.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
- Decreased or poor judgment.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood and personality.
Causes/Risk Factors that increase the chances of getting AD.
- Head trauma.
- Family history.
- Mild cognitive Impairment.
- Accumulation of Beta amyloid in the brain.
- Advancing age.
- The e4 form of the APOE gene.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Social isolation.
- Diet high in fat and low in vegetables.
- Physical inactivity.
In addition, we had some discussion about caring for those with AD and the challenges of and tips for working with AD patients. This information is very useful for dentists working increasingly older patients. It is very likely that we’ll be providing dental care for AD patients, since nearly half of people over 85 have AD.
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