Pamela Beidler MSHCA, is Vermont Director of Programs and Outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association.

Pamela Beidler MSHCA, is Vermont Director of Programs and Outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association.

Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death in Vermont. Unlike any of the other top causes of death, such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease or stroke, Alzheimer’s is the only cause in the top ten without any viable health care treatment aimed to prevent, slow, or treat the disease. (Learn more about the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and the cost to our nation by visiting http://www.alz.org/facts/ ) 

Myth versus Fact

The MYTH is that – Dementia is a normal part of aging.

The FACT is – Our brains age right along with the rest of our bodies, and our abilities naturally change with age. But, this aging process is different from the disease process that accompanies a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is not a part of
normal aging.

Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain that progressively destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the affected person may experience memory impairment, lapses of judgment, and subtle changes in personality. As the disorder progresses, new areas of the brain are affected. Memory and language problems worsen, as do movement and perception. There may be disorientation and personality changes.

We often hear the terms “Alzheimer’s” and “dementia” used interchangeably. Dementia is a general term used to describe a decline in cognitive functioning. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia accounting for more than 70 percent of dementia diagnoses. Other forms of dementia include Vascular dementia, Lewy Bodies, and Frontotemporal dementia among others. (Learn more about the different types of dementia and the 10 Warning Signs by visiting http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp )

During the month of June, the Alzheimer’s Association asks you to uncover the truth about Alzheimer’s and take action. As we continue to work towards finding a cure, there are things you can begin to do today to help reduce your risk for developing dementia. Growing evidence indicates that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits. When possible, combine these habits to achieve maximum benefit for the brain and body. Start now. It’s never too late or too early to incorporate healthy habits.

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Ways to become involved:

Pamela Beidler MSHCA, is Vermont Director of Programs and Outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner with a passion for working with our community’s most vulnerable populations and finding ways to empower individuals through health education.

 

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