Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink and sets off the death of brain cells. It is the most common cause of dementia — which is a continual decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that can affect a person’s ability to function independently.
Approximately 5.8 million people in the United States age 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s disease, with over 1.1 million of those affected being African American. Out of the approximately 50 million people worldwide with dementia, between 60% and 70% are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are some of the early signs of the disease including forgetting recent events or conversations, as the disease progresses.
Trouble with Everyday Task
Decision Making Difficulties
Memory loss is the key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease progresses, memory impairments worsen and other symptoms develop.
Brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease lead to growing trouble with:
Thinking and Reasoning
Making judgments and decisions
Planning and performing familiar tasks
Changes in personality and behavior.
How will I be tested for Alzheimer’s disease?
Only a doctor can diagnose Alzheimer’s or other brain conditions.
Here are a few ways in which you may be diagnosed:
There are several types of screening test your doctor may use, usually they consist of a series of questions and simple tasks. The assessments are arranged to test how your memory is working. They are non-invasive and reasonably quick to perform
Your doctor might suggest you see a specialist who may perform additional tests. A specialist may be a eurologist
or geriatrician who have a specific expertise in Alzheimer’s and other brain conditions.
Support Is Important
The Balm In Gilead seeks to mobilize the faith community and raise awareness of the issues affecting cognitive health among African Americans via the capacity development of African Americans congregations to become an integral partner in:
Educating African Americans about Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
Educating the African American community on behaviors that support risk reduction and healthy aging.
How to effectively support caregivers.
Develop culturally tailored, faith-based tools and resources to be utilized by the health ministries to raise awareness about brain health and caregivers’ needs among African Americans within their congregations and communities.