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The List: 5 facts about Alzheimer’s disease

Younger person with an older person
Approximately 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, a number projected to rise to 14 million by 2050.

To help mark Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month in June, here are five facts about Alzheimer’s disease.

1. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is a progressive, irreversible neurological disorder. Symptoms can include memory loss, impairment of judgment, disorientation, personality change, difficulty in learning and loss of language skills.

2. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Approximately 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This number is projected to rise to 14 million by 2050. The disease and other dementias currently cost the nation $290 billion — a figure that is expected to reach $1.1 trillion during the next three decades.

3. The Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp helps to fund research. Since its release in 2017, the stamp has generated research funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

4. You can take steps to reduce your risk for the disease. Although prevention research is still evolving, evidence is strong that people can reduce their risk for Alzheimer’s by making lifestyle changes, including participating in regular activity and maintaining good heart health. The Alzheimer’s Association’s site has more tips.

5. September and November are also awareness months. World Alzheimer’s Month, held each September, is the international campaign to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

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