Separating Fact and Fiction in Alzheimer’s Disease

Have you ever looked all over your house for your glasses only to realize that you’re wearing them? Or have you ever gone to write down something and as soon as you got paper and pen you forgot what you wanted to write?

No need to worry; these do not mean that you are getting Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. There are many reasons why you may forget something. Some medications, as well as depression, anxiety, or vitamin deficiency can affect your memory.

The memory loss of dementia is a lot more serious than forgetting someone’s name or where you put your keys. It’s memory loss that impedes daily life, like getting lost when going down the block, that could mean the onset of dementia.

To read more about the difference between normal forgetfulness and the beginnings of dementia, check out our blog post on the topic: Forgetfulness: When to Worry

There are many claims and myths about Alzheimer’s and dementia. Here are the facts:

Although dementia is more common in people over 65, and many of us seem to have a relative living with the condition, dementia is not hereditary. The most important risk factors of dementia are age and lifestyle—not your genes.

Some evidence shows a healthier lifestyle lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This includes eating a well-balanced diet, keeping active and exercising regularly, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

There are sensational claims that products such as omega-3 fatty acids, coconut oil, caffeine, green tea, and cinnamon can prevent or lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. None of these studies are conclusive, however. Of course, trying these items in moderation won’t increase your risk, but there is no proof they actually help. 

There is ongoing research as to the benefits of keeping the mind stimulated to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Some mentally stimulating activities include crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other word or mind games, learning new skills, or starting a new hobby.

Your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s goes up every year you age. Eating a healthy diet and staying mentally, physically, and socially active will give you the best chances of keeping it at bay.