FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. That’s more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
The issue? People aren’t aware that it can be fatal. Dr. Rebecca Edelmayer of the Alzheimer’s Association was in Fort Wayne on Tuesday to spread the news about alzheimer’s disease and research.
When asked whether number of deaths due to Alzheimer's disease were underreported, Edelmayer said, "We are actually trying to educate people that Alzheimer’s Disease is a fatal disease and it actually can cause death. So, the more that information becomes available and the more doctors actually report that on death certificates, we may see those numbers change over time."
Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell if someone is showing signs of Alzheimer’s Disease versus just general forgetfullness or loss of cognitive skills.
Edelmayer said "Alzheimer’s Disease is actually known as the biological cause of symptoms of Dementia. It’s the most common cause. Symptoms of Dementia can include cognitive symptoms which are difficulty in memory, learning, executive planning, but also behavioral and psychological symptoms as well."
As research into the disease continue, Dr. Edelmayer says the more scientists learn about the disease, the more they discover how complex it is.
She said "As scientists are building these models of the disease, we’re learning more and more about it. I believe that we will probably see major advances in terms of treatments in just the next few years."
Edelmayer some of those treatments maybe in the field of prescribed medicine, but other treatments may include lifestyle changes like eating healthy and making sure your heart is healthy.
Regardless of whether research says medicine or lifestyle or a combination of both is best, it’s encouraged that if you suspect something is wrong, talk to your doctor.
"We believe it’s really important to have those conversations with your physician, your loved ones, or even if you’re seeing something like this in a co-worker that those signs are actually taken very seriously," Edelmayer said.
For more information about Alzheimer's disease, click here.