November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month!



Alzheimer’s disease affects 5.8 million people in the United States.  It is a disease that can have a devastating impact on the individual and their loved ones.  It is a progressive disease that causes worsening memory loss over time.  It is more common in people over the age of 65 and increasing age is a risk factor for development of Alzheimer’s disease. However, it can begin in people that are under the age of 65 as well.  There is no current cure for Alzheimer’s disease but there are treatments that can help slow the progression of memory loss. There are many lifestyle changes that can also improve the quality of life.  I think the role of healthy lifestyle changes in the management of chronic illnesses is under-estimated.  Exercise can improve cognition, energy and overall sense of well being.  It is important to get good sleep to enhance thinking, concentration and focus. A well-rounded diet with good nutrition is vital in helping the brain function optimally.  Other co-existing medical issues should be managed.  It is important to have good blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar control.  If these issues are not controlled, there can be an increased risk of a different type of dementia called vascular dementia which occurs when there is damage to the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the brain.  Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can present with snoring, sleep difficulty and daytime fatigue.  If there is underlying sleep apnea, thinking and focus can also be affected.  There are treatments available that can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and new treatments are currently being researched. If you or a loved one is worried about memory problems, visit your local neurologist. 


Visit the Alzheimer's Association website for more information.
Sharisse Stephenson, MD
Board Certified Headache Specialist
Board Certified Brain Injury Specialist

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