Forgetful man opening kitchen cabinet - Dementia Myths

Separating Fact from Fiction: Dementia Myths

According to the Institute for Dementia Research & Prevention, about 5 million Americans live with age-related dementia. Many more live with forms of dementia that occur in younger individuals.

Unfortunately, many people have been misinformed by dementia myths. It’s important to separate fact from fiction to ensure that patients receive the treatments they need and help loved ones keep dementia symptoms in perspective.

Aluminum Exposure Causes Dementia

While some doctors still want to research possible connections between aluminum exposure and dementia, the medical establish feels that the case has been settled. Today, the vast majority of doctors and medical scientists say that aluminum has little or nothing to do with dementia.

Even if aluminum contributes to dementia, it has a loose connection. Besides, aluminum is one of the planet’s most abundant metal, so you can’t avoid it entirely. Instead, it’s better to focus on factors that have a direct influence on memory and that you have more control over.

If You Have a Family History of Dementia, You Will Get It, Too

family history of dementia does not mean that you will experience symptoms. In fact, very few dementia cases are connected to genetics. If you’re a parent with dementia, it’s very unlikely that you will pass the condition on to your children.

Huntington’s disease is a rare form of dementia that does get passed from parents to children. Unlike other genetic factors for dementia, Huntington’s only requires one gene for someone to inherit the disease.

Since Huntington’s disease affects less than .0007% of people, it’s not a significant concern.

You Can Drink Red Wine to Prevent Dementia

Many people believe the dementia myth that drinking a small amount of red wine each day can help prevent dementia. This belief largely comes from a study that discovered the protective features of resveratrol, a chemical found in red wine.

Even if resveratrol helps lower the risk of getting dementia, a single glass of red wine does not contain enough of the chemical to help. Instead, you’d have to drink about 20 bottles per day. Doing so, of course, would put you at risk of other diseases, including liver disease, pancreatitis, and cancer. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start drinking wine for medicinal reasons.

Only Elderly People Get Dementia

While age is the most effective predictor of whether someone will get dementia. The older you get, the higher your risk gets.

That does not mean, however, that dementia only affects elderly people. In fact, experts estimate that between 220,000 and 640,000 people under 65 in the United States are living with early onset dementia.

Dementia affects people of all ages. Although rare, even children can experience dementia.

It’s difficult to count the precise number of people under 65 with dementia because the symptoms don’t become problematic for several years.

All Elderly People Experience Some Degree of Dementia

Nearly all people experience cognitive decline as they enter old age. They may have difficulty remembering names, locations, and common facts. Normal cognitive decline, however, is not the same as dementia.

Dementia symptoms include more than forgetfulness. Simply forgetting your grandson’s name, for instance, does not necessarily mean that you have dementia. Some of the most common symptoms of dementia include:

  • Difficulty planning and organizing.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Psychological changes like paranoia, agitation, hallucinations, anxiety, and inappropriate behavior.

If you suspect that you’re developing dementia, then you should talk to your doctor about scheduling a diagnosis that will help measure your level of cognitive decline

You Can’t Slow Dementia Once It Starts

Dementia is a progressive disease that becomes worse over time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t slow the process. Getting plenty of exercise helps slow dementia’s progress by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Aerobic exercise is probably the best option for slowing dementia because it improves your overall cardiovascular health.

Staying mentally active can also help slow the progress of dementia. Staying mentally active involves reading, writing, and solving puzzles. Some patients use brain-training apps like Lumosity, Clevermind, and Fit Brains Trainer to keep their cognitive abilities sharp.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Are the Same

People often believe that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the same because Alzheimer’s disease is a kind of dementia. It is not, however, the only type of dementia that someone can develop. Other common forms of dementia include:

  • Vascular dementia, which is caused by poor blood flow to the brain.
  • Parkinson’s disease, which affects cognitive abilities as well as motor functions.
  • Huntington’s disease, a genetic form of dementia that can affect juveniles and young adults as well as seniors.
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which can have physical and mental symptoms.
  • Frontotemporal dementia, which affects the temporal lobes to change a person’s behavior and control of language.

There are a lot of myths about dementia that prevent people from understanding the condition. The more facts you learn about the condition, the more power you have over slowing dementia’s process and living the best life possible.

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Having a good team of support to surround you and care for you on this journey will give the strength you need to deal with the everyday ups and downs of Dementia

Do you have questions and need answers? Call us today for a consultation. We’re here to help.

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