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November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

Alyssa Carlson, Graduate Research Assistant, NDSU

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia. It affects the parts of the brain that control memory and thought processing. It develops over time, beginning with moderate memory loss and can lead to the inability to complete every day activities, such as handling money and conversing with others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. In the next 30 years, an estimated 14 million Americans will suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease.

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, research is being done to try to better understand Alzheimer’s disease, its causes and effects, and develop a cure. Meanwhile, some lifestyle choices may help prevent and manage Alzheimer’s disease and its symptoms. These include consuming a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and being mentally and socially active.

Eating a healthy diet and being physically active not only keeps your body healthy, but also your brain. Aim for a diet low in saturated fats, sugar and sodium. Focus on getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, nuts, and poultry. Increase blood flow to the brain by being physically active regularly. Some good options are walking or biking, gardening, golfing, or joining an exercise group.

Keep your brain healthy by staying mentally and socially active. As they say, “use it or lose it.” Challenge your brain by learning new things, reading, or playing strategic card games. Be socially active by visiting with friends and family, volunteering or joining a club. The more you stimulate your brain, the better. Engaging in these lifestyle habits can benefit everyone, especially those trying to prevent or control Alzheimer’s Disease.

Not only does November recognize those suffering from Alzheimer’s, but also those serving as caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 16 million people serve as caregivers to someone with Alzheimer’s. Sometimes watching a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s can cause as much pain and frustration as having the disease yourself.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a serious problem affecting millions of people around the United States. Chances are someone within your community or congregation suffers from or has a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. This November, take a moment to add those affected by Alzheimer’s to your thoughts and prayers. Better yet, join the Alzheimer’s awareness cause. For more information or to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association, visit alz.org.

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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