It’s normal to forget things every once in a while — but what happens when it becomes more frequent? Knowing what Alzheimer’s is, along with its symptoms, can help you or a loved one address this condition in its early stages.
June 10, 2021
It’s completely normal to forget things from time to time, but what happens if it becomes more frequent? Knowing what Alzheimer’s disease is and its symptoms can help you or a loved one address this condition in its early stages. Read on to learn more about Alzheimer’s, along with lifestyle modifications to help you live and happy and healthy life.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that affects thinking, memory and behavior. It’s a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to atrophy (shrink) and brain cells to die. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. Most people with the condition are typically diagnosed after age 65. However, if it is caught before age 65 it is often referred to as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
The term “Alzheimer’s” and “dementia” are sometimes used interchangeably; however, the two conditions are not the same. Dementia is a broad term used to identify a wide range of conditions — like Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury and more — that include symptoms related to memory loss, such as confusion or forgetfulness. Alzheimer’s is a specific condition that affects a person’s ability to think, learn and remember things, which worsens over time.
While experts haven’t determined a specific cause of Alzheimer’s disease, they have identified certain risk factors that include:
Keep in mind, having one or more of these risk factors doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily develop Alzheimer’s disease, it simply raises your risk level. Talk with your doctor to learn more about your risk of developing the condition if you have concerns.
You may have episodes of forgetfulness now and then, but individuals with Alzheimer’s display specific characteristics and symptoms that worsen over time. These can include:
Keep in mind that symptoms change according to the stage of the disease, which can be broken down into seven categories:
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, several lifestyle changes can be implemented in order to reduce your risk of getting the condition. Changes in exercise, diet and habits may also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that cause dementia.
Some lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s include: