Alzheimer's Disease ranks as #3 killer in Mecklenburg - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Alzheimer's Disease ranks as #3 killer in Mecklenburg

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Odds are most of us will have a personal connection to Alzheimer's Disease at some point in our lives.

Across the country and across North Carolina, Alzheimer's ranks as the sixth leading cause of death.

In Mecklenburg County, it ranks even higher. Third, only behind cancer and heart disease.

"It did surprise me, partly because Mecklenburg County is considered a young county." said Lesha Dodson with the Alzheimer's Association in Charlotte.

The agency provides resources and support for caregivers and educates the public about the growing disease. Alzheimer's disease starts by affecting memory, but eventually affects a person's ability to handle daily tasks, like feeding and bathing.

In that respect, Dodson believes more death certificates recognize Alzheimer's as a contributing factor disease. She believes education and more early diagnosis could help explain the high ranking.

She said North Carolina is also becoming a retirement destination. "People are coming here to age in place," she said and be closer to their families.

Dodson hopes for a big turnout at a conference this week, March 6th, at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It's called the "Dementia and Education Conference" and is open to the public. Call their 24 hour help hotline 1-800-272-3900 to register.

The organization's website has information on the conference and tips for caregivers; including how to recognize the signs of Alzheimer's.

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