June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

Go Purple this June. Purple represents Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month and going purple refers to participating in the events, spreading awareness, and, of course, wearing purple attire. In 1906, Dr. Alois Alzheimer discovered the disease that bears his name while working with a patient who had memory and cognitive impairments. After the patient’s death, he found the profound physical brain changes that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease now affects 5.7 million Americans and treating the disease has become a national priority. In fact, there is a massive search for drug treatments, however, currently there are not many effective pharmaceuticals to choose from.

One of the goals of going purple this June is to spread the word that Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are not part of normal aging. Dr. Ali O. Artar, a physician from the Sleep Wellness Institute in Sheboygan, who is board certified in Psychiatry and Neurology, tells us, “Some changes are expected with aging, but the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease are distinctly different and do not reflect the normal aging process.” One way to help protect yourself and your loved ones is to be aware of the warning signs. Dr. Artar says, “Being familiar with the warning signs may help individuals distinguish between normal aging and the more serious changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.”

Here are ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease from the Alzheimer’s Association:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Planning and problem-solving challenges
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble with visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and trouble retracing steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgement
  9. Withdrawing from normal activities
  10. Changes in mood or personality

Dr. Artar reminds us, “If you see warning signs in yourself or someone you care for, be sure to have a conversation with his/her primary care provider. Like many other diseases, getting a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease early increases your doctor’s options for treatment.”

Early detection also has another benefit. It allows the individual to take part in planning for their own future. Financial matters and end-of-life planning can be discussed in a way that makes the desires of the person living with Alzheimer’s disease clear. Dr. Artar says, “Alzheimer’s disease often creates an enormous burden on family members, and advanced planning with the participation of the patient is a good idea. It can make things easier for the caregivers.”

The big day for this awareness month is June 21st, the longest day of the year. Across the country there are walks, music, parties, games, art activities, and more. The goal of these events is to raise funds, spread awareness, and support patients and caregivers. To find a local event, you can Go Purple visit the Alzheimer’s Association website.

Sources: http://act.alz.org/site/TR?fr_id=10935&pg=entry https://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp#signs https://www.alz.org/facts/