Almost 15 Million Americans Now Caring for Loved One With Alzheimer’s

TUESDAY,March 15 (HealthDay News) — Nearly 15 million Americans are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and the number is rising, according to a report released Tuesday.

“People with Alzheimer’s who are otherwise healthy may live as long as 20 or 25 years,” said William H. Thies, chief medical and scientific officer at the Alzheimer’s Association, which is 

PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease

Image via Wikipedia

publishing the report in the March issue of its journal, Alzheimer’s & Dementia. “These are individuals who need increasing levels of care over time, and that can be very difficult for families.

About 5.4 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease, and their 14.9 million caregivers provided a total of 17 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $200 billion, according to the report, which also highlights the physical and emotional burdens that caregivers face every day.

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Alzheimer’s Dentistry

Beyond the health care team is essential and necessary for
maintaining oral health of the elderly. Faced with this aging population comes
the need to insert the dentist in multidisciplinary teams. Thus, it is
interesting that the professional who wishes to meet older people go through
specific training in order to relate in an inter and multidisciplinary, whether
in private practice, home, as hospital (operating room, ICU, ward). Moreover,
the dentists, as an educator in health promotion, has importantena role and
relationship with family caregivers of Alzheimer patients, as it can and should
encourage them and train them to maintain oral health, thus providing the
quality of life.

Dental Management

Thanks to the progressive increase in life expectancy in
modern societies, the dentist is and will be more frequently in the future,
with significant population growth warrants geriatric dental care. Therefore
the formation of dental clinics to address the conditions of this population is
essential to provide a quality service, and one of the most common conditions
in this growing population of Alzheimer’s disease. (Miranda AF, Montenegro FLB,
Lia IN MPAF Miranda, 2008)

The treatment plan for a patient with AD should be designed
according to the severity of the disease and always in concert with family
members or people who are responsible for patient care. Importantly, as the
disease progresses the patient’s oral condition progressively worsened,
especially with regard to oral hygiene (Bridgman AM, Wilson MA. 2000)
Therefore, if we see a patient in the early stages of disease needs to expect
this deterioration to urgent prevention measures (topical applications of
fluoride, chlorhexidine rinses, etc.). and frequent appointments for scaling
and / or prophylaxis.

It is essential to visit the dentist regularly at these
centers to prevent the presence of oral foci of infection which may aggravate
the patient’s systemic condition. Relatives usually feel much more relaxed and
confident when your dentist fully understands the details of the disease and
can give specialist help to patients with Alzheimer’s. (Kocaelli H, Yaltitrik
M, Yargic I, 2002).


The dentist should be aware of the different stages of
Alzheimer’s disease and  

their characteristics to draw attention to the oral
health of their patients individually. And possess the skills to perform the
treatment at different stages of the disease. Dentist Participation in the EA
is essential, in addition to the health team is also necessary to maintain oral
health of seniors.

With the increase of the aging of the population, it is
important that the dentist you want to meet older adults have a specific
multidisciplinary training, either in private practice, as in the hospital.
Moreover, the dentist, as an educator in health promotion plays an important
role in the relationship with caregivers and relatives of Alzheimer patients,
as it must encourage and train to maintain oral health, providing quality of

The dentist should be able to tailor treatment to the
elderly population dependent on a multidisciplinary approach, respecting the
individuality of the patient, always evaluating medical procedures and the
family context.

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