Aging Versus Alzheimer's: 7 Signs to Watch For

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease and is the most common cause of memory loss, or dementia, in older adults. More than five million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s. It’s the sixth leading cause of death for Americans, meaning one in three seniors will die of Alzheimer’s or another dementia. As you grow older, it’s normal for your brain to slow down. But how do you know when something is not normal? Dr. Shaveta Manchanda with Mercy Clinic Neurology shares seven red flags for identifying Alzheimer’s, as well as tips on how to help keep your brain sharp.

Spotting signs of Alzheimer’s early is critical. 

There’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are FDA-approved medications that can slow down the progression of symptoms for some people. Don’t delay talking to your doctor. The sooner your neurologist is able to diagnose the disease, the better.

Aging vs Alzheimers

In the meantime, there are several steps you can take to keep your brain healthy and active and possibly avoid dementia:

  • Do mental exercises. Crossword puzzles, word searches, taking up a new hobby, etc. Maybe it’s time to register for a class at your local community college. Whatever it is, just keep challenging yourself!
  • Feel the beat. Research shows music can be helpful in preventing dementia.
  • Eat healthy. Incorporate more vegetables, berries and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts) on your plate. Dr. Manchanda recommends following the Mediterranean Diet.
  • Get physical. Try a ballroom dancing class, swimming laps, yoga, light weight training or even walking through the neighborhood. The goal is to get your heart pumping, which increases blood and oxygen flow in your brain.
  • Stay social. Social isolation is a risk factor for dementia, so keep your event calendar full of activity with friends and family.
  • Get good, uninterrupted sleep. While you’re snoozing, your brain strengthens memories you’ve made during the day. Studies have shown lack of deep sleep can contribute to memory impairment.

Talk to your Mercy neurologist if you are worried you, or your loved one, may be showing signs of Alzheimer’s. Experiencing memory loss can be frightening, but Mercy is here every step of the way. We’ll help you maintain your independence as long as possible.

Written by Shaveta Manchanda, MD

Dr. Shaveta Manchanda is a neurologist practicing at Mercy Clinic Neurology – Whiteside and Mercy Clinic Neurology – Lebanon. 
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