Dr. Guy Eakin: Alzheimer's disease is a devastating and debilitating brain disease that affects more than five million Americans and another thousand are diagnosed everyday.
As Americas baby boomers continue to age, most of us will be touched by this incurable disease. Experts predict that 15 million Americans will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's by the year 2050.
This progressive brain disorder creates a major economic drain on the US economy, with over a hundred billion dollars a year in healthcare costs and lost caregiver and patient wages.
The emotional and physical toll on families as they struggle with round the clock care giving is enormous. So in simple ways to reduce the burden of Alzheimer's are to seek help through government services or adult day care.
Take care of legal and financial planning as soon as possible. Control caregiver stress with support groups, friends and family, create a safe environment and establish a predictable and daily routine. As Alzheimer's disease progresses caregivers most adapt a constant changes. They also need to be prepared for the time when their loved ones no longer know them.
The cause of this disease remains unknown but is always fatal. There is no conclusive clinical data on Alzheimer's prevention and available treatments only slow the disease's progression.
Major advances have been made in understanding environmental, genetic and other risk factors for Alzheimer's, but additional research is the only way that we will discover new treatments and ultimately a cure.