This year, the month of June has been designated as Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. When people think of being healthy, generally we think of our external physical health. However, officials with the Alzheimer’s Association want to remind everyone that mental health is just as important. Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month began to bring attention to different brain diseases, educate communities about their effects and provide support to those individuals and families struggling with this condition.

Brain disorders come in several forms. Dementia is the general term used to describe a decline in mental ability that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia as it accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases and is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information. This is because Alzheimer’s changes typically begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. As Alzheimer’s advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking. Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains change as we age. Most of us eventually notice some slowed thinking and occasional problems with remembering things. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the way our minds work may be a sign that brain cells are failing.

People with memory loss or other possible signs of Alzheimer’s may find it hard to recognize they have a problem. Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends. If you have noticed these symptoms with your loved ones, help is available. The Alzheimer’s Association is a great source of information and has many tools to help. For more information visit Alzheimer’s Association.

On June 21st, The Alzheimer’s Association is promoting the “The Longest Day” where you host a Purple with a Purpose Event or show your love via your social media channels. More information can be found at Go Purple in June. They also have a 24-hour helpline that can be used to access reliable information and support. Their phone number is: 1-800-272-3900.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces (Part) County. He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672.