Four Surprising Myths Surrounding Alzheimer’s Disease

by Juliane Anders

When dealing with illnesses, sometimes it can be hard to tell what is true and what is false. When someone you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, having accurate and reliable information is critical. With the amount of myths surrounding Alzheimer’s, such as that the disease is all in one’s head or that silver dental fillings can cause the onset of Alzheimer’s, it is essential to clear up four common misconceptions.

A common misconception of some individuals is that Alzheimer’s isn’t a fatal disease, which unfortunately is not true. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it builds up plaque in between neurons, which slows and retards their function. In moderate to advanced forms of this disease, a loss of brain cells will occur, leading to memory loss and poor concentration. As time progresses, these symptoms will only grow worse.

A second myth involves people with good intentions wishing away the symptoms of the disease. They may be unwilling to admit that they have a problem to friends or family, even while their memory loss increases.

Individuals who are in denial typically do not receive help until their condition is already at a moderate level, and they begin to suffer impaired function in their lives. Some may not recognize that they have a problem at all, and it will require an incident to get friends and family involved in the treatment plan.

Another myth frequently heard is that there are successful treatment options available to cure Alzheimer’s. This myth is untrue, as there currently exists no viable option to fix this disease, other than management of the symptoms. A few drugs can slow down the progression of this illness for half a year, but these pharmaceuticals only treat the symptoms and not the disease.

Some individuals think that silver dental fillings can cause an early onset of Alzheimer’s or contribute to a higher risk to those over the age of 65, due to the fact that most heavy metals are toxic to humans in large quantities.

A number of studies have been conducted by the FDA, and reports have been published by the New England Journal of Medicine, which confirm that moderate exposure to mercury, such as that found in dental fillings, poses little to no health risk.

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, it is important to be well-informed in order to provide the best lifestyle possible for yourself or your loved one. The cure for ignorance is information. Even with these myths debunked there is much more to learn about this disease and personal research is key to the management of Alzheimer’s disease.

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