Reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s Now

Did you know that the progression of Alzheimer’s disease begins years before symptoms ever show up?  The Georgia Department of Public Health reports that most people with Alzheimer’s or related dementia are over 65, but younger-onset can begin at age 40. While Alzheimer’s disease is due in part to genetics, it is also influenced by environmental factors we can control. Our lifestyle can impact our risk for Alzheimer’s just as much as our genes.  The Alzheimer’s Association defines Alzheimer’s disease as a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s starts with memory loss that disrupts everyday life. It gets worse over time, resulting in loss of ability to perform everyday tasks like getting dressed. Early detection, usually a brief cognitive assessment by a primary care provider, has several benefits. Yet most people do not discuss any thinking or memory problems with their health care provider. In fact, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health’s 2016 data, 80% of Georgians who perceived themselves as having some form of cognitive impairment have not discussed their condition with their health care provider and therefore have not received treatment. Nationwide, just one in seven seniors is receiving regular brief cognitive assessments.  To determine how aging is affecting your brain, ask your health care provider for a brief cognitive assessment during each annual checkup.