June is Alzheimers and Brain Health awareness month

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June is Alzheimers and Brain health awareness month, and the summer solstice is the longest day of the year. It’s also the longest day for people with Alzheimers. 

“Bringing awareness is still somewhat of a stigma. And a lot of people don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to admit that maybe they might have the beginnings of mild cognitive impairment. So one thing you people need to understand, there is a certain process that you go through when you age and you kind of, you know, I mean, you lose some of your physical abilities” Says Lynn Mckenna, advocacy chair for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Humboldt County. 

The signs of dementia can show up 20 years before you see a symptom. So it’s important to take care of your health no matter what your presumed risk level may be. 

“One of the latest facts that have come out that’s a little bit frightening is you can have the onset of dementia 20 years before you have one symptom. So now’s the time to make changes in your lifestyle, you know, maintain a healthy weight, watch your blood pressure, manage your diabetes if you happen to have that”, McKenna says. 

Despite the fact that there is no cure yet, awareness is important because they’re getting closer to finding a cure. 

“They’re working on a blood test right now, they know for a fact that if you have amyloid plaques  in your brain it would show up in a Pet scan, these are major indicators of the starting of Alzheimer’s.  So they’re working on blood tests to identify markers and, the, the strides that they’ve made in research in the last five years has just been phenomenal”, she says. 

“So you have some of your big pharmaceutical companies that are focusing on this. And again, it’s not just in the United States. The research is worldwide. It’s in 59 countries around the world. So Alzheimer’s is the number three cause of death in the United States. More people now die from Alzheimer’s than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined”, says McKenna

If you have a loved one who may be showing signs, visiting angels is here to help. 

“It’s a very hard disease for family and caregivers. It’s mentally and emotionally, physically taxing. And they need a break and they need to take care of themselves too. So if you know somebody or you are, you know, you have somebody in your family or a friend that you think has dementia or they have been diagnosed and you’re kind of at your wits end, please give us a call”, McKenna says. 

You can call visiting angels at (707) 442-8001.

Story by Tucker Caraway