‘This is Us’ shines light on Alzheimer’s Disease

‘This is Us’ shines light on Alzheimer’s Disease

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Alzheimer’s killed over 120,000 in 2017.

The disease is even impacting a character in the NBC hit show “This Is Us.”

Mandy Moore's character "Rebecca" is showing signs of dementia.

“Dementia is a broad general term that usually describes memory loss that affects daily life,” Buffy Hankinson, with the Tifton chapter of Alzheimer’s Association, said. "It’s not a normal part of aging.”

It usually starts impacting people ages 65 and older “however, there are early onset Alzheimer’s which is 64 and younger and we’re seeing more and more cases of that,” Hankinson pointed out.

Buffy Hankinson with the Alzheimer’s Association in Tifton.
Buffy Hankinson with the Alzheimer’s Association in Tifton. (Source: walb)

Some signs of dementia includes forgetting the function of items, taking much longer to complete customary tasks and difficulty with naming items or close family members.

“There are over 100 different types of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent. Eighty percent of people who have dementia usually do have Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is fatal and there is no cure” Hankinson said.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., according to CDC.

It is a progressive disease that impacts not only memory but functions like learning, thinking and reasoning.

Hankinson said if you start noticing signs or symptoms, see your doctor because "there’s some medications out there that may slow down the progression of the disease in the early stages.”

Getting an early diagnosis helps you plan for your future.

“You can plan legal and finances, your power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney," Hankinson said. "Make sure that you have who you want taking care of you. That way you are in control of your care while you’re still able to make those decisions.”

“This is Us” returns to NBC on WALB on January 14, 2020.

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