Monday, December 8, 2014

Fact, There is No Cure For Alzheimer's

So, Dementia has came into your life. What does that mean? What can be done? Who do you turn to?
I along with everyone who will admit it, didn't give dementia a second thought before I was diagnosed. This I have always thought is the number one problem with dementia.
If you don't have it, or if you are not a family who is dealing with is, dementia is as they say, "Out of site, Out of mind".
Think about this, there are over 5 million people in the United States right now living with dementia. And, what is even more concerning is there are over 500,000 people who die with Alzheimer's every year. 
Just about the same number of people are expected to die from cancer in the United States this year. Just over 500,000. 
Now, the problem is as it always has been the amount that is set aside for research and the development for cancer and for dementia.
In the most recent figures, there is over $600,000,000 spent on cancer research and development, and there is only $400,000 spent on dementia research and development yearly.
Anyone with any sense at all can see that dementia research is lagging behind and has been since they started keeping records. 
The question then becomes why? You will hear we are making progress in the field of dementia. That is not true.
Some will say there are on the cutting edge of developing a drug for Alzheimer patients. The truth is the closest thing they have is some testing that is being done of rats.
Rats. Mice. Or whatever. Some kind of rodent. They have been testing trial drugs on cancer patients for decades. But not dementia. We wait. And we wait. 
And the one thing that a dementia patient doesn't have is time. Time is our enemy.
"I don't know if I have six months or six years to communicate the way I do today." I say this at every speaking engagement I have ever done. 
There is one thing about Alzheimers that rings true, that you don't find with cancer. Alzheimer Disease is terminal. There is no cure. There are no drugs to slow the progression, and you will die.
There are no survivors. Yet the funding for Alzheimer research is dismal compared to Cancer research. 
I say the reason is because of the ignorance of the disease. It's not ignorant people, but people who are ignorant of the disease. 
If I have heard this once, I have heard this a thousand times..."Our father was diagnosed with dementia. Thank God it wasn't Alzheimer's."
Little do many people know that Alzheimer's is dementia. And little do people know there is no "T" in Alzheimer's. 
It is "alZheimers" not "alzTheimers" It is pronounced with a "Z" not a "T". There is no such word as Alztimers. 
Some think it's cute to say this. Some like I said are just ignorant of the disease. You will find that many even after diagnosis do not know that Alzheimer's is indeed terminal. 
You will die from the complications of it. Just as many do not realize that "Dementia" is like an umbrella, with as many as 200 types of
dementia under it. 
The most common being of course, Alzheimer's. The name derived from a German doctor who was the very first to find this disease in the human brain. 
He did so by autopsy. And today the only way to identify Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia, is through an autopsy of the brain. 
You will hear there is no cure for Alzheimer's, and that is a fact. But there are some cures for other types of dementia. The can even be treated. 
Take Vascular Dementia for example. This type of dementia is brought on by a stroke. And strokes can indeed be prevented by diet, lifestyle, and exercise.
So, in reality vascular dementia is indeed curable and it can be prevented. But not Alzheimer's. Once Alzheimer's or Early On-Set Alzheimer's is detected, it has most likely been effecting the persons brain for up to ten years.
Alzheimer's is indeed caused by what is termed plaques and tangles in ones brain. These plaques and tangles are intertwined and do not "fire" properly. 
The disease then spreads to other parts of the brain. Thus you start out with short term memory loss and then the disease causes one to start having long term memory loss.
Memory loss is not the only thing that occurs. It is the most common, but not the only effect this disease has on you. 
One will lose the ability to speak, to eat, to swallow, to walk, and to even breathe. 
This occurs because the disease slowly but surly takes over the entire brain. The most complex organ in the human body. And the one organ that is responsible for everything you do. 
I can tell you this, whatever your religious beliefs are, or even if you have none, you better get things in order if you or someone you know is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. That is a fact. Things will progress whether you accept this disease, or deny it as many do. 
My wish is more people would know or learn about the different dementias. My Prayer is that someday there will be more money spent on research. 
But my real desire is to make today more tolerable for those who are struggling with dementia. That is why Memory People™ came to be.
We are all about Awareness & Support. We don't do research, we don't do cure. What we do is offer Support that will help the caregiver and the patient get through today.
What happens tomorrow, next week, or next year, we will deal with then. What happens today, right now is what needs to be dealt with. 
And we are here, to help you do just that. We don't have any answers. We don't have any cures. But we do have suggestions that may help you deal with what you are going through.
And even beyond that, we are here for each other. As it should be, as it always will be....