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Understanding Alzheimer’s disease and its symptoms

November 7, 2023
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What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease is a form of dementia, a condition that affects the brain, especially with age. The National Institute on Aging offers a simple definition. “Alzheimer’s Disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.”

An estimated 6.7 million Americans ages 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, researchers expect that number to increase to 13 million. Unfortunately, the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown.

Signs and symptoms

The Alzheimer’s Association identifies the following as the 10 common signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

As the disease progresses, those with Alzheimer’s may no longer recognize loved ones or be able to live on their own.

The difference between “normal aging” and Alzheimer’s

As we age, we all experience changes in the way we think and feel. It’s “normal” to sometimes forget where you put your keys or a scheduled appointment. We might make errors when paying bills on occasion. You might even forget what day it is for a moment. Or it could be a struggle to find the right word sometimes. When these things happen occasionally, it’s often due to aging. But if it happens regularly or gets worse, it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s and it’s best to get checked.

Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease

How is Alzheimer’s diagnosed?

Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed through a combination of a physical exam, neurological tests, blood tests, and diagnostic imaging scans. It also often includes talking with your family members as well to get a full picture of the patient.

Who should get tested?

If you or someone you know is showing any of the 10 warning signs, schedule a doctor’s appointment and get checked for Alzheimer’s disease. Why Get Checked | Alzheimer’s Association.

Treating Alzheimer’s disease

Despite much research, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. However, when diagnosed in its early stages, there are approved treatments that can slow its progress. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms.

How to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s and keep your brain healthy.

The good news? You can reduce your risk by living a healthy lifestyle.

Resources available

The Alzheimer’s Association offers resources and support groups through local chapters across the country. You can learn more and find your local chapter here: Find Your Local Chapter | Alzheimer’s Association.

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