Nearly 7 million people aged 65 and older in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, including 126,000 in Washington.

Nearly 7 million people aged 65 and older in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, including 126,000 in Washington.

Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month is here, be proactive today

Learn healthy habits and early signs to reduce Alzheimer’s risk while improving brain health.

This June, during Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Association urges Americans to prioritize brain health.

Nearly 7 million people aged 65 and older in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, including 126,000 in Washington. At age 45, the lifetime risk is 1 in 5 for women and 1 in 10 for men. Alzheimer’s brain changes can start 20 years before symptoms, offering a significant window for intervention.

Experts believe Alzheimer’s develops from multiple factors, with age being the greatest known risk factor. While age can’t be changed, other risk factors—such as physical activity, not smoking, education, mental challenges, blood pressure and diet—can be modified to reduce risk.

“Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month is a perfect time for Washington residents to take charge of their brain health,” said Meghan Means, Director of Programs and Services for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Washington and North Idaho Chapter. “We encourage people to take steps to potentially reduce their risk of cognitive decline and to talk to their doctor if they experience memory or thinking problems. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can offer numerous benefits.”

In alignment with this initiative, the Alzheimer’s Association is promoting the Longest Day initiative, a year-long peer-to-peer fundraising campaign where participants engage in various activities to support Alzheimer’s research.

Related: Corgis race to join the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease

Additionally, during June, the Alzheimer’s Association is offering five suggestions to help individuals take charge of their brain health:

Incorporate healthy habits to reduce cognitive decline

Adopting healthy habits can lower the risk of cognitive decline. Research suggests up to 40% of dementia cases globally are linked to modifiable risk factors. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends these 10 Healthy Habits to help reduce cognitive decline and potentially dementia. No matter your age, now is the time to take charge of your brain health.

Recognize early warning signs of alzheimer’s and dementia

Alzheimer’s is often associated with memory loss, but there are other early warning signs such as altered judgment, mood changes, and difficulties in decision-making and planning. Some memory changes are normal with aging, but significant changes that interfere with daily life should be checked. The Alzheimer’s Association lists 10 Early Signs and Symptoms to help identify potential issues.

Be proactive about memory and thinking problems

Many people delay discussing memory and thinking issues with a doctor. A 2022 report found that 60% of U.S. adults would wait to see a doctor until symptoms worsened or someone expressed concern. Early detection of Alzheimer’s and dementia offers the best chance for care, management, and treatment. Early diagnosis allows for better planning, participation in clinical trials, and access to treatments that may slow disease progression. If you or a family member experiences memory or thinking problems, it’s important to get checked. The Alzheimer’s Association provides resources to help navigate these conversations.

Help accelerate disease-related research

Clinical trials are essential for developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s. Volunteers, including those with Alzheimer’s, caregivers, and healthy individuals, are needed for over 180 clinical trials. The Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch® service connects interested individuals with suitable trials.

Volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association

Volunteers play a crucial role in supporting people affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. By volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association, you join a passionate network working to combat this disease, honor loved ones, and provide care and support to those in need.

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