Everyone has their forgetful moments now and then. You misplace the keys, can’t remember someone’s name, forget the grocery list in your head, or grasp for a word on the tip of your tongue.
These "moments" are common and are part of being human, especially if you have too much going on in your life or aren’t fully paying attention.
What happens if your "moments" turn into full-blown Alzheimer’s disease and gradually the lost keys are the least of your concerns?
Next to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most feared diseases associated with aging and many will do whatever it takes to avoid the onset.
Here are five facts about Alzheimer’s disease to keep you and your loved ones informed.
1) Unfortunately, it can be very genetic.
If a parent has the autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s gene, there is a 50 percent chance of passing it onto children. Therefore, if Alzheimer’s disease runs in your family, make sure you start early to delay the possibility of onset because ...
2) ... The process begins years before the onset of symptoms.
Most people are diagnosed over the age of 65. However early-onset Alzheimer’s disease can begin as early as in the fifth decade of life.
3) Do not confuse Alzheimer’s disease with other conditions that lead to cognitive issues.
Specifically, check for thyroid problems (including positive thyroid antibodies), low vitamin B12 levels, low iron or iron storage (ferritin) levels, and hormone imbalance. Many women going through perimenopause, or who have reached menopause, report cognitive changes such as worse short-term memory and word recall, when that used to be something they excelled at in their day-to-day routine.
4) Get blood work done.
Keep in mind that high iron and iron storage levels can put you at risk for cognitive decline as can the mutation in the apolipopotein E4 gene, which is testable. Also consider homocysteine testing as some research points towards a higher risk with a higher number.
Get your folic acid gene (commonly known as the MTHFR) tested for mutations as well.