It seems some people are just forgetful. Car keys, sunglasses, purse – apparently they can’t remember where they put anything. Naturally, that’s not really the case. They eventually retrace their steps and find what they were looking for. But what if that happened to you and you couldn’t retrace your steps? Not because you couldn’t remember your exact path and actions from when you got home from work yesterday, but because you couldn’t remember walking into the room ten minutes ago or why you’re even there in the first place?
With aging, people sometimes seem to be a bit more forgetful than in younger years. Occasional slips of the mind are one thing, but when those slips occur more and more often and begin to interfere with daily life, combined with moodiness and behavioral changes, you may be seeing some of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
What causes Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia we see in America, today, and the damage probably begins long before any sort of odd outward behavior is displayed. In its earliest stages, a gradual buildup of plaque blocks the tiny neurons in the brain that allow communication, resulting in a slow degradation of functionality over time. As that blockage between neurons increases and gradually spreads, mood and memory (especially short term) can start to reveal clues, but often in such small doses they may still be dismissed as a simple memory slip or not noticed at all.
What happens now?
Over time the disease will progress, continuously eroding brain cell function as its symptoms and consequences become more and more evident. Increased moodiness, confusion, and shying away from or frustration with mentally demanding tasks or situations might all become more common, although how quickly that happens is difficult to say as it varies from person to person. Though early diagnosis may benefit in slowing the disease’s advance, at the moment there is no cure. A diet low in saturated fats and high in antioxidants combined with a healthy cholesterol level do seem to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s, though.
If you find yourself forgetting things more often or occasionally experiencing a moment of confusion when you’re out and about, see your primary care doctor or stop by one of our fourteen AppleCare locations throughout southeast Georgia for an initial evaluation.