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June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month

Tuesday, June 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
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JUNE IS ALZHEIMER'S AND BRAIN AWARENESS MONTH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 6, 2017

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Pharmacy Association [APA] recognizes June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias affect 47 million people worldwide and 5 million Americans. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death and is the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed.

Age is the greatest risk factor for developing the disease and is thought to be “an old person’s disease.” Two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women. “Pharmacists are an excellent resource to help patients and their loved ones spot the signs of Alzheimer’s” says Louise Jones, Executive Director of APA. It isn’t always easy to know the difference between a simple memory lapse and something more serious. Everyone has those tip-of-the tongue experiences once in a while. 

One early sign of Alzheimer’s is having a new problem struggling for a word or name or getting lost in the middle of a conversation. Your pharmacist wants to share that this is true if it happens along with other warning signs like these:

  1. Forgetting what was recently read or learned. Someone might also forget important dates or events or ask the same question over and over. Another sign is relying heavily on memory aids or family members for things you easily remembered in the past.
  2. Finding everyday tasks challenging. The person might get lost when driving to a familiar location or have trouble remembering the rules of a favorite board game or the steps in a recipe memorized long ago. It might also be tough to plan, keep track of, or complete tasks like monthly bills.
  3. Becoming confused by time, place, or space. Some people with Alzheimer’s disease might have trouble judging distance. They might lose track of time or how they got to a certain place.
  4. Misplacing items of value. Sometimes items get stored in unusual places - like a cell phone in the refrigerator or a wallet in the dryer.
  5. Lacking judgement. This can show up in different ways. For example, your previously dapper father might wear the same pair of wrinkled slacks for seven days in a row. Perhaps it could be your penny-pinching mother is suddenly giving away huge sums of money to telemarketers.
  6. Withdrawing from work or social activities. Maybe the sports fanatic no longer knows what’s happening with a favorite team or the social butterfly of the family shies away from all get-togethers.
  7. Having a change in personality. Sometimes a person with Alzheimer’s becomes more depressed, fearful, or anxious and sometimes they may easily lash out at family members. These type of changes are usually seen in later stages of the disease.   

It is important to know that not everyone will experience the same type of symptoms, nor will the disease always progress at the same rate. Trust your instincts. If you feel something is changing, have a discussion with your physician or a member of your healthcare team. Your pharmacist can also be a sounding board. It may be time for a medical evaluation.

The Alzheimer’s Association is leading the charge to make Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementia’s a national priority. Take a moment to commit to raising awareness in June for Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. You may find more information at www.alz.org.

The APA membership is interested in educating our patients and the community about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. There isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s yet, but treatment can help with symptoms and support services can make a world of difference. If you are interested in having a pharmacist speak with your community group about Alzheimer’s and other dementias please contact the APA office.

The Alabama Pharmacy Association is a nonprofit professional organization with over 2,500 members statewide. The APA offers continuing education programs for pharmacists and technicians, and members take a leading role in lobbying for pharmacy at the state and national level. Established in 1881, APA is the oldest professional organization for pharmacy in the state. APA members represent all practices of pharmacy and are committed to their profession and their patients.

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