Occasionally forgetting someone TMs name or where you put your keys, is pretty normal according to Valley Baptist Medical Center Director of Neuro Critical Care Dr. Ameer Hassan.However, he said once someone reaches age 65 and starts forgetting more serious things like their way home it's cause for alarm.
He said there are currently 27 million people worldwide, diagnosed with Alzheimer TMs - a disease still not completely understood.
"We know that there's destruction of certain neurons, there's these plaques and tangles that are created in the brain and there are certain genetic predispositions," Hassan said.
Former State Rep. Don Lee was found dead in a nearby field from the nursing home he was living at.
Family members said the 79-year-old man suffered from Alzheimer TMs.
Hassan said the illness affects short term memory which can lead to very dangerous situations if a patient is left alone or suddenly goes missing. "Alzheimer TMs patients should be treated just the same as a child being abducted or a missing child, Hassan said. They are at harm to themselves - they can walk into things, walk across the street and not pay attention to their surroundings and get hit by a car for example - it TMs very dangerous for them to go out and be alone without supervision."
Hassan said once someone is diagnosed with the disease their life span is about 7 years or about 14 years for the few 3 percent of those diagnosed.
However, Hassan said once the disease grabs hold of someone it gradually worsens, killing off brain neurons.
"There are behavioral modification therapies that can be done to help Alzheimer patients " little things to trigger a memory in order for them to know to ask for help, Hassan said. For example signs at the door, signs at the bathroom, things like that to kind of trigger that memory of, ~let me make sure someone helps me before I leave this door. TM
Hassan adds that a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean Diet, and exercise can help prevent or delay Alzheimer TMs.
He adds people who are prone to cardiovascular disease are also more susceptible to the disease.
It TMs predicted by 2050, nearly 90 million people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer TMs.