If you or someone you know is concerned about memory problems, you're not alone. But is what you’re experiencing normal, or something more serious?
As you age, some forgetting is natural and inevitable – but Alzheimer’s disease is not a part of normal aging.
The fact is, Alzheimer's disease is more than forgetting where you put your keys. Symptoms include loss of memory that affects day-to-day function, difficulty with regular tasks, and changes in mood and behaviour.
There are also other types of dementia – Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form. Some causes of dementia are very treatable, so it’s important to find out what’s at the root of your concerns.
The word dementia is an “umbrella term” that refers to many different diseases.
Different types of dementia are caused by different physical changes to the brain.
For example, Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by "plaques" and “tangles”. “Plaques” are numerous tiny dense deposits scattered throughout the brain, which become toxic to brain cells at excessive levels. "Tangles" interfere with vital processes eventually "choking" the living cells. As brain cells degenerate and die, the brain also markedly shrinks in some regions. (read more…)
Vascular dementia, the second leading cause of dementia, occurs when the cells in the brain are deprived of oxygen. It is often the result of a stroke, which occurs when blood flow in the brain is blocked. (read more…)
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a type of memory change that is different from both Alzheimer’s disease and normal age-related memory change; some consider it an intermediary stage. People with MCI have ongoing memory problems, but do not experience the other symptoms of dementia like confusion, or difficulty with language. (read more...)
Other types of dementia include:
It’s important to note that sometimes, symptoms of dementia can be caused by conditions that may be treatable, such as depression, thyroid disease, infections or drug interactions.
That’s why it’s important that any concerns you might have be discussed with your doctor.
If the symptoms are not treatable and progress over time, they may be due to damage to the nerve cells in the brain. If that’s the case, getting an early diagnosis is critical for you and your family, to ensure you and your care partners can get the support needed to maintain quality of life.
Research increasingly shows that by making a commitment to your own brain fitness plan, you can help maintain the health of your brain and reduce your risk of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s disease as you get older.
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Make your own commitment to brain health, and start your brain fitness plan today…