If you're like many Americans, your life or the life of someone you know has been touched by Alzheimer's disease. A new at-home genetic test can let you know if you're at risk, but you need to be aware of its limitations before you buy it.
Nearly everyone who lives long enough experiences some cognitive decline, which is considered normal. However, dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, is not a normal part of aging, even though its incidence rises rapidly after age 65.
People with mild cognitive impairment are more forgetful than normal for their age, but they don't experience other cognitive problems associated with dementia, such as disorientation or confusion about routine activities.
Routine tasks such as paying bills, shopping, and meal preparation may become challenging. People with mild cognitive impairment may take more time doing these things and they may make more mistakes. They are generally able to live independently but may be less active socially. …
Once other conditions, such as depression, Huntington's disease or hypothyroidism, have been ruled out, an Alzheimer's diagnosis is made by accumulating information on the individual's history and mental status exams and by interviews with the patient, family members and friends over a period of several weeks. Diagnoses based on this type of clinical information are accurate about 90 percent of the time
Alzheimer's disease, which is named for the German physician who first identified it in 1906, is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases. It is a progressive disorder of the brain and is characterized by a gradual deterioration of mental faculties caused by a loss of nerve cells and the connections between them. …
Doctors have long known that smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products increases the risk of a host of illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. While the relationship between smoking and dementia has been less clear, a growing body of scientific research conducted over the last decade suggests a strong connection.