Alzheimer's disease, or related dementia, affects an estimated 500,000 Canadians, and statistics predict that this number will double within a generation. Fortunately, for every person living with Alzheimer's disease, there are also many family members and friends providing care and support.
Alzheimer's disease will eventually affect how a person thinks, feels, acts, and reacts to the environment. Symptoms will gradually increase and become more persistent. Although there is no known cure, growing research indicates that eating well and staying physically and mentally active can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
To date, the Government of Canada has invested more than $176 million in research to find ways to prevent Alzheimer's disease and its devastating effects on Canadians and our health system. In 2009-2010 alone, we invested close to $23 million. And we are currently working with Canada's major neurological charities, and investing $15 million over four years, to increase our knowledge of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer's disease.
As Minister of Health, I encourage all Canadians to take some time during Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, to learn more about the disease. Family members often mistake Alzheimer's disease symptoms for depression or normal signs of aging. That's why it's important to be informed about the disease, and to know what support options are available.
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health
Government of Canada