According to the Alzheimer's Association, approximately 6.2 million people in the United States aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's dementia.
However, this number may not include younger people who have dementia or mild cognitive impairment, so the actual number of people with dementia in the US could be higher. It’s also important to note that while it’s the most common, Alzheimer's is just one of many types of dementia.
The mission of Dr. Andrew Lerman and his team at Gables Neurology in Miami, Florida, is to provide advanced, comprehensive, and compassionate care for neurological disorders such as dementia, regardless of the type. Here’s what you should know about the risks and symptoms of dementia.
Dementia risk factors
The prevalence of dementia increases with age, with most cases occurring in individuals over 65. In fact, the risk of developing dementia doubles every five years after age 65. However, it’s essential to note that dementia isn’t a normal part of aging and can also occur in younger individuals.
Other factors that increase your risk of dementia include:
- High fat, high sugar diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Excessive alcohol use
- Elevated cholesterol
- Arterial disease (atherosclerosis)
- Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
Nutritional deficits leading to low levels of vitamin D, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and folate may also increase your risk of dementia.
Ten common symptoms of dementia
Dementia describes a range of symptoms associated with a decline in cognitive function that affects your ability to think, remember, reason, and perform daily activities.
Here are ten common symptoms:
1. Memory loss
Dementia can cause you to have difficulty remembering recent events, dates, and names.
2. Difficulty communicating
You may struggle to find the right words to express yourself or have trouble following a conversation.
You may become easily disoriented and have trouble understanding where you are or what time it is.
4. Poor judgment
Dementia can cause you to make poor decisions or be unable to make decisions altogether. For instance, planning your day or deciding what to pick up at the grocery store may seem overwhelming.
5. Changes in mood or behavior
Dementia can cause mood swings, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.
6. Difficulty with daily activities
You may find it difficult to accomplish routine tasks such as cooking, cleaning, or even getting dressed.
7. Lack of motivation or interest
You may find you’re less interested in activities you once enjoyed, causing you to become more isolated or withdrawn.
8. Changes in personality
Dementia can cause you to become more aggressive, irritable, or socially inappropriate in behavior or thoughts.
9. Repetitive behavior
Someone with dementia may repeat certain words, phrases, or actions over and over again.
10. Difficulty recognizing familiar objects or people
You may struggle to recognize family members, friends, or familiar objects. This is different from temporarily forgetting a name or losing your keys. Dementia causes you to forget what keys are or that you ever knew your friend, family member, etc.
If you’re struggling with dementia-like symptoms or are concerned about your risk factors, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Lerman at Gables Neurology today.