Did you know that someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds? There are currently 50 million people across the globe living with dementia. That number is expected to more than double and reach 132 million by 2050.

Every June, the Alzheimer’s Association declares “Alzheimer’s And Brain Awareness Month” to help raise awareness about the disease while simultaneously showing support to the millions of people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It’s also an important time to recognize caregivers for the support they provide to their loved ones dealing with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

One of the very first steps towards raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and brain health is educating the public on the diseases and their progression, in addition to the number of older adults impacted worldwide. Here are a few essential facts to learn and keep in mind this Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month:

  • Many seniors living with Alzheimer’s don’t know they have it. The early symptoms of dementia include difficulty speaking or finding the right words, behavioral changes, and difficulty with day-to-day tasks like getting dressed. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, even after a health care professional recognizes these symptoms, only 45 percent of doctors tell the patient about their diagnosis. This failure to disclose the diagnosis to patients and caregivers can prevent senior citizens from receiving vital early intervention and treatment.
  • Alzheimer’s commonly leads to premature death. Most people know that Alzheimer’s disease causes debilitating memory loss. But, what often goes unrecognized is the fact that Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
  • There is currently no known cure for dementia, making the disease the only illness in the United States’ top 10 causes of death that cannot be prevented or slowed.

Preventing Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Although there is no known cure at this time for Alzheimer’s and dementia, there are some things you can do to stave off the conditions, including:

  • Get enough sleepGrowing research suggests that adequate sleep can prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. Aim for seven to eight hours each night.
  • Exercise: Physical exercise has been shown to help prevent the development or slow the progression of people with Alzheimer’s symptoms. 
  • Keep learning: Cognitively stimulating activities are helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s. Try to incorporate 30 minutes of reading, puzzles, chess, and other brain teasers into your daily routine.

For more information on how you can commemorate Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, or to share your personal story with the condition, click here.