As we get older, many of us will notice changes in our memory. Forgetfulness is a normal part of getting older, however, dementia and Alzheimer's disease is not. How can we tell the difference? We all worry, about ourselves and our parents as we watch them age; and with good reason.
Presently, one in ten people 65 and older has Alzheimer's, about 5 million people. But only half have been diagnosed with the disease. It is estimated that by 2050 as many as 16 million people will have it.
As we become more and more educated about this terrible disease, we often find ourselves wondering when we or someone we love will get it, not if we or someone we love will get it. You may be concerned because you have noticed recurring "senior moments". As we age, we notice our senior moments more and more.
So where does normal forgetfulness end and mild cognitive impairment begin? Some experts think that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the early signs of Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, there is no definitive test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s, but your personal history and mental status exams are accurate about 90% of the time. Alzheimer's progresses very slowly for most people. The downward slide of thinking, memory, and judgment are gradual, over the span of many years.
If you have concerns about yourself or a loved one, find out all you can about your own, or their, personal history and speak with your doctor. Education about Alzheimer’s Disease is the best way to understand an prepare yourself, if necessary, for this terrible disease.