Alzheimer’s disease, and the dementias in general, are among the most-feared consequences of being lucky enough to survive into older age. Between ages 65 to 74, about 3% of the population will show signs of Alzheimer’s, rising to 30% or higher among those 85 and older. Many others as they age will suffer from dementia from other underlying conditions, such as mini-strokes.
Barry Gordon, a nationally recognized expert on memory and memory disorders, sheds light on these debilitating conditions and provides guidance on what you need to know to take the most informed and active steps if faced with them—whether personally or in a family member or friend.
He explains how the syndrome of dementia is defined, and some of the many specific diseases that may cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s, the vascular dementias, Lewy body disease, and the frontotemporal dementias. He discusses some of the causes of dementia that are treatable, and some conditions that can mimic it but do not necessarily cause permanent harm. He examines the role your family history and your own condition and activities may play in your developing Alzheimer’s disease or some of the dementias, and how you can estimate your own risk of developing one of these.
Gordon discusses what you can do to try to prevent, delay, or mitigate dementia. Will crossword puzzles or online memory games help? Physical exercise? What about treating problems such as prediabetes, diabetes, sleep apnea, and hypertension? What are the chances of benefitting from those steps, and what are their potential drawbacks?
Gordon addresses when you should be concerned that someone may have early dementia—even yourself—and when you should raise the alarm. He details the steps you should expect your doctor to take to find out what is wrong. The current treatments available for Alzheimer’s and other dementias, including drugs and behavioral treatments, such as enriched activities, and the treatments and preventions that may be on the horizon, are also covered.
Gordon is the founder of the Memory Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, where he is also a professor of neurology and cognitive science.
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