The brain is complicated, and scientists are always learning more about how it works. Even after many years of studying Alzheimer’s disease, there’s still a lot about the aging brain that we don’t know. Here are the basics: Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects the brain, making it harder for people to remember things and changing how people act..

Let’s clear up some common misunderstandings and myths about Alzheimer’s disease, and explain the real facts.

Common Myths About Alzheimer’s Disease, Debunked

1. Dementia is the same as Alzheimer’s disease.

While these two terms are often used interchangeably, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are not the same. Dementia is a general term for problems with memory, problem-solving, and communication. Alzheimer’s is a specific disease that causes the deterioration of brain tissue and is the most common cause of dementia.

2. Only elderly people can get it.

While it’s true that getting older increases the risk of Alzheimer’s, younger people can get it too. In rare cases, people in their 30s can develop what is called early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Typically Alzheimer’s disease is more common in people over the age of 65.

3. Taking supplements will prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

No supplement has been proven to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, so any products that claim to do so are not trustworthy. There is no single way to prevent Alzheimer’s, but you can lower your risk by:

  • Keeping your blood pressure under control.
  • Exercising regularly and keeping your mind active.
  • Staying at a healthy weight.
  • Protecting your head from injuries.
  • Getting enough sleep every night (at least seven to nine hours).
  • Using hearing aids if you need them.

4. You’ll develop Alzheimer’s if your parents had it.

Having a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s increases your risk slightly, but it doesn’t mean you will definitely get it. Most cases of Alzheimer’s aren’t directly linked to a single genetic cause.

5. Genetic testing can determine if you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease.

Genetic tests can’t tell you for sure if you will get Alzheimer’s, so experts typically advise against it. There are at least 80 genetic factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but scientists don’t fully understand how they affect different populations. Experts usually recommend focusing on healthy habits to lower your risk instead of relying on genetic tests.

6. Aluminum could be a cause.

A common myth is that using aluminum cans or cookware could cause Alzheimer’s disease. This idea started in the 1960s but has not been proven by research. “The same goes for several other factors that were once rumored to lead to Alzheimer’s disease,” says Isabel Soles Talbert, PA-C. Clinical Director, “including the artificial sweetener aspartame, flu shots, and silver dental fillings. There is no scientific evidence of a definitive link between Alzheimer’s disease and any of these alleged causes.”

Schedule an Alzheimer’s Appointment With YourTown Health

Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease can be overwhelming to think about, but having a healthcare partner who will listen to any of your wellness-related concerns and give options can give you peace of mind. Whether you’ve noticed changes you’d like to discuss or you’re simply due for an annual exam, contact a provider at YourTown Health for any medical needs. Schedule an appointment by calling 770-463-4644 or send us a message online.