50 and Worried about Alzheimer’s?

Carol Bradley Bursack | Aug 28, 2015

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In general, awareness about Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia is a positive step forward. The downside is that many normal people over 50 worry that they are developing Alzheimer’s if they have even occasional glitches in cognition. Should you worry when…

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You’re Forgetful?

Nearly every time you’ve locked your purse in the car, misplaced an important item at home or at work or even forgotten an important birthday of a loved one, you’ve been overloaded. Your home life, your work life, or both are overwhelming you.  Stress, not dementia, is the likely culprit.

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You Can’t Concentrate?

You’re supposed to write a routine memo at work and you find yourself staring at the blank form, briefly not able to even begin to fill in the familiar blanks. Instead, you’re wondering what to pick up for dinner and if your child is faking being sick so that he can skip school. Your likely problem?  Too many distractions, not dementia.

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You’re Disorganized?

Your refrigerator contains the remains of a dinner from two weeks ago. You haven’t checked your online bank account for a month. You have a pile of mail waiting for attention that you don’t even want to think about. Your likely problem?  Too much multitasking, not dementia.

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You’re Driving on Autopilot?

You drove to work this morning but don’t remember the details. You know the route so rather than thinking of driving, your mind was on the presentation that you have to give plus the fact that your mother is due for surgery next week. Your likely problem? No time for your own mental recovery, not dementia.

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The Probable Reason for Your Behaviors

I’m sure that you see the pattern. Chronic stress, often in the form of too many demands on our time, is overwhelming your mind and keeping you from completely concentrating on any one thing. You aren’t mentally living in the present and you’re stretched too thin to be efficient.

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See Your Doctor

Chronic stress is poison to your body, and that includes your brain. You probably don’t have dementia but you still need to see your doctor.  Have a physical to rule out a UTI or other infection, a medication side effect, thyroid disease or other health issue. And yes, that includes dementia. Most likely, however, you need to find way to manage your stress levels through yoga, meditation or counseling.

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The Takeaway

It’s good to be aware that younger onset Alzheimer’s is a possibility. However, understand that there are many reversible health and lifestyle issues that can be causing these worrisome issues. Take care of any health problems that you may have. Then, focus on a healthier lifestyle that includes stress reduction. This important step may actually prevent or at least stave off dementia symptoms.