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November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month, a time for acknowledging all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

By attempting to create greater understanding of Alzheimer’s, the goal of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month is to eliminate the associated stigma that prevents many individuals who experience early symptoms from seeking immediate medical attention.

Raising awareness begins with sharing what we currently know. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for over half of all dementia cases. Although there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, some symptoms can be treated. And while existing treatments cannot stop the disease’s advancement, they can slow the disease’s progress and improve the quality of life for patients and their caregivers.

Raising awareness also means knowing Alzheimer’s risk factors—starting with aging. Indeed, the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 or older. In addition, research shows that high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and obesity present greater chances for memory loss. Managing other health factors such as diabetes, head injuries, nutrition, and tobacco and alcohol use are also important to postponing or preventing Alzheimer’s onset.

Many people experience occasional memory-loss issues that are unrelated to Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Nevertheless, talk to your doctor about any troubling symptoms you notice. Early detection is critical to memory care.

For more information about Alzheimer’s and dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website.

When President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month in 1983, the disease inflicted fewer than 2 million Americans. Today, more than 5 million people have Alzheimer’s. Ironically, in 1994—five years after leaving office—President Reagan notified the country that he’d been diagnosed with the disease.