Differentiating Aging and Alzheimer's
Many people confuse the difference between normal aging and Alzheimer's disease, when, in fact, the two are very different. Not all memory loss relates to Alzheimer's disease. Memory loss is common in men and women over age 65 bit its severity varies from person to person.
As people get over, the level of the oxidative stress can significantly and progressively increase which damages DNA and lipids in the brain; this is true even for healthy individuals. Over time, this free radical damage leads to the death of neurons.
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects. The brain is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage since it consumes roughly 20% of the oxygen used by the entire body,
Differences in Aging and Alzheimer's
What is Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease resulting in mental deterioration of the brain. It most often occurs within those aged 65 and older. It is important to know that Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging.
Symptoms of Alzheimer's:
- Difficulty remembering new information
- Mood and behavior changes
- Confusion about events, time, and place
- New suspicions about family
- Difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking
- Difficulty recognizing objects
Alzheimer's will continue to advance over time and will eventually require those with the disease to have a caregiver or live in an assisted care facility.
Usual Symptoms of Brain Aging:
- Mild forgetfulness (Losing keys, not remembering the name of an acquaintance, missing an appointment)
- Hearing loss, which can result in less participation in conversations
- Trouble multitasking
How to Keep Memory Sharp
- Keep a busy social life. Meeting up with friends and loved ones helps decrease stress and depression. Take the time to get social and enjoy conversing with others.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will keep your body healthy, including your brain. Be careful when drinking alcohol. Too much will slow down the responsiveness and deteriorate brain function.
- Stay Active. Exercising increases the body's blood flow, which is good for your brain!
- Work Out Your Brain. Do crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or word searches during free time. Try learning a new language or how to play an instrument. You can even take alternate routes while driving to stay alert.
More on Alzheimer's
- Elder Rage, How to Survive Caring for Aging Parents
By Carol Marak
Chief Public Relations Officer, Aging Alone Spokesperson & Advocate
- Healthy Aging and Dementia
By Melissa Johnson
Registered Nurse (RN)
- Memory and the Music Connector
By Susan Waters
Senior Home Care
- Children of Alzheimer's: Offering Supportive Services
By Julie C. Westcott