November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. Alzheimer’s Disease affects over 6 million Americans, with 3 million new cases diagnosed every year. You or someone you love has most likely experienced the effects of Alzheimer’s, so take this month to reflect on what you can do to support those in your life and prevent the disease.
Mild Cognitive Impairment vs Alzheimer’s Disease
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the increase in thinking or memory problems as a person ages. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, less than 1 in 5 Americans know about MCI, which can be an early stage of Alzheimer's and other types of dementia.
It is important to know the symptoms of MCI so that you or your loved ones can notice them. Symptoms of MCI according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA) include:
- Losing things often
- Forgetting to go to appointments or events
- Having more trouble than other people your age coming up with words
- Difficulty moving or issues with your sense of smell
Being aware of these symptoms can prompt those worried about their memory issues to see a doctor. The doctor can determine whether the source of the issue is treatable or refer you to a specialist. Learn more about MCI and tips for managing forgetfulness here.
Not everyone who experiences symptoms of MCI develops Alzheimer’s. There is a large percentage of those with MCI whose symptoms either stay the same or improve. There is a chance, however, that people over the age of 65 with MCI can develop Alzheimer’s within one-year. This is why it’s important to recognize the warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease and differentiate them from MCI.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease include:
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment leading to bad decisions
- Loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative
- Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
- Repeating questions
- Trouble handling money and paying bills
- Wandering and getting lost
- Losing things or misplacing them in odd places
- Mood and personality changes
- Increased anxiety and/or aggression
- Difficulty with language
If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, talk to a healthcare provider to discuss treatment plans that may include medications, clinical trials, or lifestyle changes.
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Life encourages physical and mental activity through daily wellness content and Events. Our articles and videos touch on all eight dimensions of wellness to broaden residents’ intellectual and overall well-being to help slow the progression of memory loss.
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