You probably either know or know of someone who developed dementia as they got older. Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia – is feared by more adults than any other disease except cancer. But dementia is not inevitable. While you may not be able to guarantee how your mind will function in the future, there’s much you can do to effectively prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
“Senior moments” may lead many middle-aged individuals to worry if these are early signs of dementia. Forgetting where you left your keys or missing an appointment because you forgot can be scary. It’s reassuring to know that most people experience such “senior moments” as they get older, and only rarely do these indicate impending dementia. There’s no need to worry unless these are accompanied by other more serious symptoms, or they begin to affect your daily functioning. Other people who know you well can also provide feedback; if your spouse notices a personality change, or if your coworkers are concerned that you’re no longer doing your job adequately, it’s time for further evaluation.
Alzheimer’s disease is a complex disorder involving the death of brain cells. Tangles involving the neurons in the brain, deposits of abnormal proteins such as amyloid, and other specific changes all contribute to this cell death. As more brain cells die, the remaining brain cells eventually become unable to pick up important functions such as memory, communication, and judgment.