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9 things to know about Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. Learn how you can help avoid it.


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March 15, 2017

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1. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is the general term for conditions causing cognitive decline that interfere with day-to-day life.

2. Alzheimer’s disease was first described by Alois Alzheimer in 1906.

3. Currently, more than 5.4 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s Disease. This number is expected to triple in the next 30 years.

4. While age is the primary risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s Disease, looking at genetics is important too. Early Onset Alzheimer’s is rare, but occurs in 30-60 year-olds. About 25% of the population gets Late Onset Alzheimer’s, which is seen in people over 60.

5. Getting an education and continuously using your brain are preventive lifestyle choices you can make to help ward off Alzheimer’s. Intellectually challenging leisure activities like crossword puzzles or Sudoku help keep your brain well exercised.

6. In late adulthood, the hippocampus (part of the brain involved in memory) shrinks, resulting in impaired memory and increased risk of dementia. In adults who are fit or exercise regularly, the hippocampus remains larger.

7. Mediterranean diets which are rich in brain healthy foods like healthy fats, fruits, veggies and fish lower your risk of dementia. Studies also suggest benefits from eating foods like green tea, dark chocolate, red wine.

8. People that socialize regularly and receive support from those in their lives have a much lower dementia risk.

9. Certain cardiovascular risk factors like obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure are associated with a higher risk of dementia. Getting these conditions under control could help you avoid Alzheimer’s.

Take a moment to identify one small thing you can do to promote healthy brain aging. Visit the HealthPartners Center for Memory & Aging or Park Nicollet Neurology to learn more or to discuss memory issues like dementia with our care teams.

When your health concerns involve your brain, spinal cord or nerves, you may need the help of a neurologist. You may be experiencing tingling, numbness or weakness; or you or a loved one may be experiencing memory loss. We are specialists that diagnose and treat all of these diseases of the nervous system.

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