Alzheimer’s Disease plagues millions of people across the country and is the number one cause of dementia. It brings about a progression of cognitive decline, encumbering the individual diagnosed as well as family members and friends.
Although there is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, the sooner the diagnosis is made, the better chance the individual will have of slowing the progression of the disease and living a harmonious life.
The stage in which the initial diagnosis is made is crucial to the progression of the patient; therefore, it is invaluable to know the risk factors and warning signs of the disease.
Age – The chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease go up after the age of 65, but the disease is not a natural part of aging. There have been cases of younger people developing the disease, but it is uncommon and unlikely.
Family history and genetics – If a family member has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the chances are higher that the individual will develop symptoms.
Prolonged tobacco or alcohol use
A history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, or heart disease
Memory Loss – Occasionally forgetting a name or an appointment is normal and usually won’t throw life off balance. However, more severe memory issues might indicate Alzheimer’s Disease, such as asking questions multiple times or forgetting important dates. If memory loss disrupts life in any way, it’s time to visit the doctor.
Problems with Daily Tasks – Dealing with bills and money might become too stressful and overwhelming for a person developing Alzheimer’s. There might be an inability to make decisions or manage aspects of life that were once doable. If daily tasks become troublesome, visit a physician.
Mood or Personality Changes – Depression and anxiety can develop with Alzheimer’s, where there had previously been no issues. If sudden changes occur and are blatantly noticeable by friends and family, don’t take it lightly. Address the problems and see a doctor.
Poor Judgement – Alzheimer’s can lead to recklessness with spending money and when making other important decisions. This will begin negatively affecting the person with the disease and those around him. See a doctor before poor judgment progresses and before anyone is harmed.
Confusion – Placing items in unusual spots, getting lost in familiar places, and being confused about the time and place are all signs that a person should visit with their doctor.
Withdrawal – With declining cognition, an Alzheimer’s patient will tend to stay inside more than usual to avoid others and potential conversations.
Reducing the Risk
Though there is still much to learn about this degenerative disease, there are a few ways to reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s.
- Physical Activity/Exercise
- Eating a balanced diet
- Avoiding tobacco use
- Drinking less alcohol
- Receiving regular check-ups
Be aware of the risk factors, watch out for the warning signs, and partake in healthy actions to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Don’t let Alzheimer’s sneak up on you or a loved one.
“10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s.” Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs.
“10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s.” Knowledge Connection, training.alz.org/products/4062/10-warning-signs-of-alzheimers?_ga=2.16258614.1852145772.1610063175-1708495541.1610063175.
“What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 June 2020, www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm.
About the Author
Carly Commiato is currently teaching junior high at a small town district. She has a degree in Exercise Physiology and an ACSM Exercise Physiologist (EP-C) Certification. In her spare time, Carly enjoys babysitting for her friends and spending time outdoors.