Recognizing the Signs of Alzheimer’s

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  • We all have those moments when we forget something basic, like a phone number we’ve called dozens of times, a word or a phrase that’s on the tip of our tongues, where we put the keys or if we’ve remembered to turn off the iron or the coffee pot.

    We talk about “senior moments” when we lose our thoughts or joke with friends that we’ve come down with CRS (Can’t Remember ….well, you know).

    But when are momentary memory lapses signs of something more?

    The Alzheimer’s Association says that memory loss that disrupts daily life could be a sign of something serious and provides a list of 10 signs that should be investigated.

    Typically, if you forget a name or some information but recall it later, it may be age-related memory loss. But if someone in your family is forgetting recently learned information, asking repeatedly for the same information or relying on family members for things he used to handle himsel it may be worth getting tested.

    Other signs include changing the way a person solves a problem or difficulty in doing routine things, such as bill paying or difficulty in performing routine tasks such as driving to the store or the rules of a favorite game. Difficulty reading or problems judging distance or color contrasts, decreasing judgment, an inability to retrace one’s steps, problems speaking – calling things by the wrong name or being unable to complete a thought – changes in mood or personality or a withdrawal from favorite activities and social settings can all be indicators of Alzheimer’s.

    According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death nationwide and the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. From 2000-2008, death rates declined for most major diseases, but rose 66 percent during the same period for deaths from Alzheimer’s disease.

    There is some evidence, however, that keeping strong social connections and physical diet and exercise can have a positive impact on the brain, including heart-healthy eating habits, such as eating less red meat and ingesting whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, shellfish, nuts, olive oils and other healthy fats.

    “Some evidence suggests exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow,” according to the association’s website.

    “Even stronger evidence suggests exercise may protect brain health through its proven benefits to the cardiovascular system. Because of the known cardiovascular benefits, a medically-approved exercise program is a valuable part of any overall wellness plan.”

    If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs, please see a doctor. Early diagnosis gives you a chance to seek treatment and plan for the future. If you have questions, call: 877.877-IS IT ALZ (877.474.8259).

    Visit the Alzheimer ‘s Association website for the 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease here.

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