Most Feared Diseases

5:28 PM, Feb 23, 2011   |    comments
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NEW YORK, Ny. (CBS) -- Rachael Bachleda's mom has Alzheimer's disease. The 34 year old mother is afraid she could also get it.

Rachael Bachleda tells us, "I'm going through it from a perspective of a child and I would not want my son to go through that"

A new survey finds Alzheimer's is one of the most feared diseases in the US, second only to cancer.

The MetLife Foundation reports one in three adults worry they'll develop the debilitating brain disease.

"Alzheimer's disease strikes at the core of who we are, our individuality// and in that way it becomes fundamentally a different disease than stroke or heart disease or even cancer," says Dr. Alan Lerner from University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Many of those surveyed also worry they'll have to care for someone with Alzheimer's, although most did not have a plan if it does strike.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. More than five million people in the US are living with it. And in the coming years about 10 million baby boomers will develop the disease.

Doctors say keeping an eye out for the early warning signs is the key.

Dr. Lerner says, "I get most concerned when people report memory loss occurring on a daily basis. So that there is some consistency to the problem."

Rachel saw those signs a few years before her mom's diagnosis.

"She was really resistant to going to get tested but getting tested early was I think the most important thing we did because not knowing what you have to deal with doesn't help you deal with it," Rachel tells us.

Rachel says figuring out your finances and long term care will give the whole family peace of mind.


Getting the diagnosis as early as possible is also beneficial because there are now medications that can slow the progress of the dementia.

And- more studies to stop and even reverse some Alzheimer's symptoms are happening- including one on a new type of gene therapy at Georgetown University Hospital.



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