Worldwide, 55 million people are living with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a group of symptoms.
The mission of the Know ALZ project is to increase early detection and awareness of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders among high-risk and underserved communities in Illinois.
Partnering local health departments, community-based organizations (CBO) and federally qualified health centers (FHQC) will deliver messaging about brain health and cognitive aging, changes that should be discussed with a health professional, and the benefits of diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders (ADRD) in their early stages.
Community health workers at partnering institutions will also be trained to provide reliable information about:
Symptoms of ADRD and dementia
What prevents people from accessing better brain health and treatments
How health care providers can test for memory issues
How anyone diagnosed with ADRD can get the help they need
What is Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s Disease is a fatal brain disorder that destroys a person’s ability to create and recall memories. The disorder is caused by unusual clumps and tangled fibers in parts of the brain that create memories and spreads over time to other areas that allow a person to process information and perform day-to-day tasks. The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who discovered the disorder in 1906. There is no known cure.
The current diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease relies on documenting mental decline, at which point, Alzheimer’s has already caused severe brain damage. There are several ways to detect Alzheimer’s disease earlier in life, including biomarkers, brain imaging, proteins, blood tests, and genetic profiling.
Researchers are continuing to find ways to detect and track Alzheimer’s disease earlier on, and these are the most effective tests so far. It is important to know your family history of Alzheimer’s to see if you carry a gene with a variation that could increase your risk of the disease.
About Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA)
Support for the Know ALZ project comes from an Illinois Department of Public Health grant to the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) - the oldest and largest public health association in the State of Illinois. As one of the largest affiliates of the American Public Health Association, IPHA is widely recognized as a leader in the field of public health advocacy, health education and promotion.