“You can’t really treat Alzheimer’s”

  • Dementia affects 47 million people worldwide, which is something the Alzheimer’s Association hopes to make everyone aware of this month. June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, which is a chance to hold a global conversation about the brain, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.
  • “You can’t really treat Alzheimer’s,” said Katie Clark, a Family Nurse Practitioner at Lawrence County Memorial Hospital’s Primary Care Clinic. “All you can do is keep it from getting worse. The best you can do is get them on medication to keep things from progressing.”
  • Like with a lot of other diseases, Alzheimer’s is “progressive,” according to Clark. As with other diseases, it’s best for the patient if it’s discovered early. Family history, she adds, is a “big factor” with the disease.
  • Additionally, Clark says, caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients need to be recognized. “We need to help those caregivers out all we can,” she said. “They’re going through a whole lot when they have an Alzheimer’s patient to take care of.”

Alzheimer’s facts

  • In the United States, 5.8 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
  • Caregivers provided an estimated 18.5 billion hours of care valued at nearly $234 billion in 2018.
  • Between 2000 and 2017 deaths from heart disease have decreased by nine percent, while deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased by 145 percent.