Will I Get Alzheimer’s
After hearing all this information, the question we’ve probably all asked ourselves remains: will I get Alzheimer’s?
The simple answer is that, unfortunately, there’s no real way to tell. There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing the condition, but it is very rare that these factors will guarantee that you will get Alzheimer’s at some point.
Much more research is needed into the causes and risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but the good news is that this research is going on right now. The Jackson Laboratory is one such institution leading the charge with cutting edge discoveries, a strong focus on personalized medicine, and our renowned JAX Center for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Research.
Another institution internationally known for its research and charity is the Alzheimer’s Association. If you are concerned about signs or symptoms of dementia in yourself or a loved one, we recommend turning first to the Alzheimers Association Help & Support page. This page includes a many helpful articles, ways to connect with local support groups, and a 24/7 hotline for any Alzheimers and dementia related questions.
Aluminum In Cookware And Other Products
It would be difficult to significantly reduce exposure to aluminum simply by avoiding the use of aluminum products such as pots and pans, foil and beverage cans.
That’s because the use of aluminum in these products only contributes to a very small percentage of the average person’s intake of aluminum. It’s important to remember that aluminum is an element found naturally in the environment and our bodies at levels that are normal and not harmful.
Medications For Cognitive Symptoms
No disease-modifying drugs are available for Alzheimers disease, but some options may reduce the symptoms and help improve quality of life.
Drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors can ease cognitive symptoms, including memory loss, confusion, altered thought processes, and judgment problems. They improve neural communication across the brain and slow the progress of these symptoms.
Three common drugs with Food and Drug Administration approval to treat these symptoms of Alzheimers disease are:
- donepezil , to treat all stages
- galantamine , to treat mild-to-moderate stages
- rivastigmine , to treat mild-to-moderate stages
Another drug, called memantine , has approval to treat moderate-to-severe Alzheimers disease. A combination of memantine and donepezil is also available.
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What To Do If Someone In Your Family Is Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s
Contact the Alzheimer’s Association . Find out about resources available to help you and your family. State and county agencies may also be able to help.
Plan for the future. This includes legally designating someone to make health care and financial decisions for the affected person when he or she can’t.
Investigate long-term care options. Nursing care is expensive, and finding a good place can take time. Start early.
Take care of physical health. People with dementia who live a healthy lifestyle tend to progress more slowly to the later stages.
Steer away from genetic testing. Even if you have the APOE Alzheimer’s risk gene, it usually doesn’t mean you will develop dementia later in life.
Brain Changes Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease
A healthy adult brain has about 100 billion neurons, each with long, branching extensions. These extensions enable individual neurons to form connections with other neurons. At such connections, called synapses, information flows in tiny bursts of chemicals that are released by one neuron and detected by another neuron. The brain contains about 100 trillion synapses. They allow signals to travel rapidly through the brain’s neuronal circuits, creating the cellular basis of memories, thoughts, sensations, emotions, movements and skills.
The accumulation of the protein fragment beta-amyloid outside neurons and the accumulation of an abnormal form of the protein tau inside neurons are two of several brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s.
Plaques and smaller accumulations of beta-amyloid called oligomers may contribute to the damage and death of neurons by interfering with neuron-to-neuron communication at synapses. Tau tangles block the transport of nutrients and other essential molecules inside neurons. Although the complete sequence of events is unclear, beta-amyloid may begin accumulating before abnormal tau, and increasing beta-amyloid accumulation is associated with subsequent increases in tau.,
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Medications To Maintain Mental Function In Alzheimer’s Disease
Several medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat symptoms of Alzheimers. Donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine are used to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimers. Donepezil, memantine, the rivastigmine patch, and a combination medication of memantine and donepezil are used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimers symptoms. All of these drugs work by regulating neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. They may help reduce symptoms and help with certain behavioral problems. However, these drugs dont change the underlying disease process. They are effective for some but not all people and may help only for a limited time.
What Are Risk Factors
- Risk factors are aspects of your lifestyle, environment and genetic background that increase the likelihood of getting a disease.
- Risk factors on their own are not causes of a disease. Rather, risk factors represent an increased chance, but not a certainty, that dementia will develop.
- Similarly, having little or no exposure to risk factors does not necessarily protect a person from developing dementia.
There are some risk factors that can be changed, and some that cannot â read on to know which are which!
Read about risk factors for dementia in our downloadable, print-friendly infosheet.
This sheet also contains strategies and lifestyle changes that can help you reduce your risk of developing dementia.
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Dementia With Lewy Bodies
In this and other forms of dementia, proteins called Lewy bodies build up and damage brain cells. Dementia with Lewy bodies can lead to problems with memory and movement. Someone with this condition might act out dreams or see things that arenât there . Although thereâs no cure, your doctor can help treat symptoms.
What Is The Difference Between Alzheimer’s And Dementia
First, some explanation of dementia vs. Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability that interferes with daily life. Not a normal part of aging, most dementias are typically caused by damaged brain cells.
Of all the dementias, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, accounting for 60-80% of the cases. In other words, it is a specific disease while “dementia” is a general term for a life-altering decline in brain function .
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A Family History Of Alzheimers Increases Your Chances Of Developing The Disease
If you have a family member with Alzheimers disease, especially a close family member like a parent or sibling, then youre more likely than the average person to develop Alzheimers yourself. The more family members you have with Alzheimers disease, the higher your risk is.
When a disease tends to run in families like Alzheimers does, it usually means the disease develops because of our genes, our environment, or both. In the case of Alzheimers, scientists know our genes play a role in determining whether we develop the disease, and they believe environmental factors may affect our risk too.
The Basics Of Alzheimers Disease
Scientists are conducting studies to learn more about plaques, tangles, and other biological features of Alzheimers disease. Advances in brain imaging techniques allow researchers to see the development and spread of abnormal amyloid and tau proteins in the living brain, as well as changes in brain structure and function. Scientists are also exploring the very earliest steps in the disease process by studying changes in the brain and body fluids that can be detected years before Alzheimers symptoms appear. Findings from these studies will help in understanding the causes of Alzheimers and make diagnosis easier.
One of the great mysteries of Alzheimers disease is why it largely affects older adults. Research on normal brain aging is exploring this question. For example, scientists are learning how age-related changes in the brain may harm neurons and affect other types of brain cells to contribute to Alzheimers damage. These age-related changes include atrophy of certain parts of the brain, inflammation, blood vessel damage, production of unstable molecules called free radicals, and mitochondrial dysfunction .
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Am I At Risk For Alzheimer’s
Whether we have seen early signs in ourselves or not, many of us want to know what our chances of getting this disease may be. Research has shown a number of possible factors that can impact your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease, although none of these are a cause in and of themselves.
Some ages are more at risk
Old age is one of the most obvious risk factors. The vast majority of people develop the disease after the age of 65, and once you reach 65, your risk of getting Alzheimer’s doubles every five years. But Alzheimer’s doesn’t only affect people over 65 it has been known to affect people half that age, although this is much rarer.
Alzheimer’s is hereditary
A family history will also increase your risk of getting the disease. The risk increases even more if you have multiple family members who have suffered from the disease.
Whilst this may be due to the hereditary genetic factors we will look at in more depth later, there may be other factors at play. These could include environmental factors that impact both yourself and your family.
Gender is another significant risk factor. The first discovery of the disease back in 1906 was in a woman, and about twice as many women as men over 65 have Alzheimer’s. This may be in part to the fact that women have a longer lifespan or may even possibly be linked to menopause.
Genetic factors of Alzheimer’s
Other risk factors
Theres A Connection Between Heart Health And Dementia
Lots of evidence shows that heart health and brain health are related. This makes sense because our brains need blood, which pumps out of our hearts, to keep functioning. Conditions that can damage your heart, like coronary artery disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, can also raise your risk of developing Alzheimers disease.
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Can Alzheimer’s Disease Be Prevented
As the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not clear, there’s no known way to prevent the condition.
But there are things you can do that may reduce your risk or delay the onset of dementia, such as:
- staying physically fit and mentally active
These measures have other health benefits, such as lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease and improving your overall mental health.
Read more about preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
Use And Costs Of Health Care Services
6.2.1 Use of health care services
People with Alzheimer’s or other dementias have twice as many hospital stays per year as other older people. Moreover, the use of health care services by people with other serious medical conditions is strongly affected by the presence or absence of dementia. In particular, people with coronary artery disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , stroke or cancer who also have Alzheimer’s or other dementias have higher use and costs of health care services than people with these medical conditions but no coexisting dementia.
- * This table does not include payments for all kinds of Medicare services, and as a result the average per-person payments for specific Medicare services do not sum to the total per-person Medicare payments.
- Created from unpublished data from the National 5% Sample Medicare Fee-for-Service Beneficiaries for 2014.
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Risk Factors For Dementia
Researchers have identified several risk factors that affect the likelihood of developing one or more kinds of dementia. Some of these factors are modifiable, while others are not.
Age. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and several other dementias goes up significantly with advancing age.
Genetics/family history. Researchers have discovered a number of genes that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Although people with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease are generally considered to be at a heightened risk of developing the disease themselves, many people who have relatives with Alzheimer’s disease never develop the disease, and many without a family history of the disease do get it.
In most cases, it is impossible to predict a specific person’s risk of the disorder based on family history alone. Some families with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome, or fatal familial insomnia have mutations in the prion protein gene, although these disorders can also occur in people without the gene mutation. Individuals with these mutations are at significantly higher risk of developing these forms of dementia.
Abnormal genes are also clearly implicated as risk factors in Huntington’s disease, FTDP-17, and several other kinds of dementia.
Many people with Down’s syndrome show neurological and behavioral signs of Alzheimer’s disease by the time they reach middle age.
$56k Alzheimers Drug Avoiding Bidens Cost Curbs For Now
FILE – The Biogen Inc., headquarters is shown March 11, 2020, in Cambridge, Mass. A new $56,000-a-year Alzheimers medication thats leading to one of the biggest increases ever in Medicare premiums is highlighting the limitations of President Joe Bidens strategy for curbing prescription drug costs. Called Aduhelm, the medication from pharmaceutical company Biogen would be protected from Medicare price negotiations for over a decade under the Democratic drug pricing compromise before Congress.
WASHINGTON A new $56,000-a-year Alzheimers medication thats leading to one of the biggest increases ever in Medicare premiums is highlighting the limitations of President Joe Bidens strategy for curbing prescription drug costs.
The medication known as Aduhelm would be protected from Medicare price negotiations for more than a decade under the Democratic drug pricing compromise before Congress, part of Biden’s social agenda legislation. That’s because the bill doesnt allow Medicare to negotiate over newly launched drugs, providing a window for drugmakers to recoup investments in research and development. Biologics such as Aduhelm get 13 years of protection.
Seniors soon will be paying higher premiums so Medicare can set aside a contingency fund to cover Aduhelm, which is made by the pharmaceutical company Biogen. It’s the first Alzheimers medication in nearly 20 years. But its benefits have been widely questioned.
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Estimates Of The Number Of People With Alzheimer’s Dementia By State
Table lists the estimated number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia by state for 2020, the projected number for 2025, and the projected percentage change in the number of people with Alzheimer’s between 2020 and 2025.,
|Projected Number with Alzheimer’s||Percentage Increase|
- Created from data provided to the Alzheimer’s Association by Weuve et al.,
As shown in Figure , between 2020 and 2025 every state across the country is expected to experience an increase of at least 6.7% in the number of people with Alzheimer’s. These projected increases in the number of people with Alzheimer’s are due solely to projected increases in the population age 65 and older in these states. Because risk factors for dementia such as midlife obesity and diabetes can vary dramatically by region and state, the regional patterns of future burden may be different than reported here. Based on these projections, the West and Southeast are expected to experience the largest percentage increases in people with Alzheimer’s dementia between 2020 and 2025. These increases will have a marked impact on statesâ health care systems, as well as the Medicaid program, which covers the costs of long-term care and support for many older residents with dementia, including more than a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease
Experts believe the disorder is sparked by the buildup of proteins in the brain, which disrupts connections between neurons. How this develops is not completely clear, although scientists have isolated some risk factors. Unfortunately, the most common are aging and a family history of the diseasetwo things you can do nothing about.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, other risk factors include cardiovascular disease and an unhealthy lifestyle two things you can definitely do something about.
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Total Cost Of Health Care And Long
Table reports the average annual per-person payments for health care and long-term care services for Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older with and without Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Total per-person health care and long-term care payments in 2019 from all sources for Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s or other dementias were over three times as great as payments for other Medicare beneficiaries in the same age group .,
|TOTAL* Payments from sources do not equal total payments exactly due to the effects of population weighting. Payments for all beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s or other dementias include payments for community-dwelling and facility-dwelling beneficiaries.||50,201||14,326|
- * Payments from sources do not equal total payments exactly due to the effects of population weighting. Payments for all beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s or other dementias include payments for community-dwelling and facility-dwelling beneficiaries.
- Created from unpublished data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey for 2011.
Over The Past 20 Years New Dementia Cases In The Uk Have Dropped By 20% Driven Mostly By A Fall In Incidence Among Men Over 65
Experts say this may be because of public health campaigns targeting heart disease and smoking. Both are risk factors for Alzheimers. But because men tend to get heart disease younger and smoke more than women, these campaigns also may have helped stave off these risk factors more for men than women.
Meanwhile, other risk factors for the disease affect women more than men. For example, more women develop depression and depressed mood has been linked to the onset of Alzheimers. Other risk factors affect only women, such as surgical menopause and pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia, both of which have been linked to cognitive decline in later life.
Depression is one risk factor for developing dementia it also affects more women than men
This idea is gaining momentum. Advocacy group the Womens Brain Project , co-founded by Santuccione-Chadha, Ferretti and Schumacher as well as chemist Gautam Maitra, has just published a major review analysing a decades worth of scientific literature on Alzheimers, revising existing data and asking scientists to stratify it by sex for the first time.
The most obvious differences that come out of the literature are in the display and progression of cognitive and psychiatric symptoms between men and women with Alzheimers disease. Based on these new studies we can design new hypotheses and figure out new ways to improve treatment of patients, says Ferretti.
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