Alzheimer’s is a very common condition, which also causes it to spark misunderstandings, myths, and even fear. With more than 3 million cases in the US each year, we are here to help debunk 11 common myths for some peace of mind:
Dental Fillings Cause Alzheimer’s
Some amalgam fillings or silver fillings may have a small amount of mercury and other kinds of metal. Contrary to popular belief, these silver fillings affecting brain health or leading to Alzheimer’s has not been supported by research or the Alzheimer’s Association. At our Grand Rapids, Michigan dental office, Dr. Zwier recommends that you should still focus on keeping your teeth healthy and clean. Even some research shows that brushing your teeth has benefits for your brain.
Aluminum Pans Cause Alzheimer’s
Aluminum is a natural substance found in the Earth. It also has been found in individual’s brains with Alzheimer’s disease. However, research has not made an association between aluminum and the disease.
I Have Dementia Because I Forget Something
Although memory loss is the most recognizable symptom of Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, it may also be a sign of a condition that can be treated. Additionally, in some cases of dementia, memory loss is obsolete in earlier stages.
Alzheimer’s is Worse than Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is just one type of dementia. Many people don’t realize that dementia is just a group of specific conditions and it’s very important for people to comprehend their diagnosis. If you are affected by dementia, and are unsure of the particular type, ask your doctor about what you can expect and what you can do to remedy this condition.
Memory Loss is Normal with Aging
Although our memory and speed may slightly decline in our 30s, cognitive function remains stable as we age. It’s not a normal sign of aging if you can’t remember basic information, like where you live. It is important to discuss with your healthcare professional the difference between normal memory loss and the initial symptoms of dementia.
Flu Shots Cause Alzheimer’s
A physician once brought up a theory that flu shots cause Alzheimer’s, but since then, research is still unable to prove this association. On the other hand, one study even found a decreased risk for those who received the vaccination.
Dementia Only Effects Old People
The risk of dementia truly increases as we get older, but there are some cases where people under the age of 65 develop dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association approximates 200,000 people are living with early onset dementia in the U.S. Early onset affects individuals in their 40s or 50s, which also has different challenges. More common types of onset dementia include frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, HIV/AIDS dementia, and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.
I will have dementia because my parents have it.
There aren’t many cases where dementia is passed as a deterministic gene, or a gene that causes the disease. In most other cases, if your parent has dementia, you have a higher risk of developing the disease, and not everyone who has a parent with dementia will develop it themselves. There is still a lot an individual can do if they have a genetic history to decrease their risk.
You Can Treat Alzheimer’s
Unfortunately, this is not true yet. There are four FDA-approved medications to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and it more halts the progression of dementia, but does not eliminate it.
People with Dementia Respond Well to Being Treated Like a Child
People with dementia may have to be spoken to differently, but some take it too far and treat the elderly like a child. The action is called “Elderspeak” and it is not helpful. It has been greatly associated in research with an increase in challenging behaviors in people with dementia. Well, wouldn’t you feel that way if someone was speaking baby talk to you all day?
Scientists Don’t Want to Find a Cure
This is a common misconception where people think that scientists are reaping more money and benefits from the disease being very common. Although there is no specific research on this, there are many medical researchers who work diligently and devote their careers to finding a cure to Alzheimer’s. This theory can be tossed, although we know there may be corruption and hidden motives in a lot of topics. One day at a time, many physicians, researchers, and organizations are trying to defeat this disease and find a cure.