Everyone's memory gets worse with age, so how can you tell the difference between normal aging and signs of Alzheimer's disease?
There definitely is a distinction between the two, experts say. "Alzheimer's disease is not normal aging," said Heather Snyder, senior associate director of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer's Association.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia, a general term for a condition in which someone develops cognitive problems as a result of changes in the brain. Alzheimer's is thought to be caused by the buildup of toxic proteins in the brain.
The most common symptom of Alzheimer's is difficultly remembering things , particularly new information, such as an appointment you have made. While people who are aging normally may forget things as well, they will typically remember them later -- in other words, you remember that you forgot.
But in some people with Alzheimer's disease , that doesn't happen. "You forget something and then you don’t get that information back, it doesn’t seem familiar to you even if someone reminds you," Snyder said.
Another example might be forgetting to pay your monthly bills, which would be a sign of normal aging, versus forgetting how to pay your bills or how to manage your budget, which would be a sign of Alzheimer's, Snyder said.
Snyder stresses that Alzheimer's affects individuals differently, so not everyone will have the same symptoms. If you are concerned that you or a family member is experiencing signs of Alzheimer's, you should speak with a health care professional, Snyder said.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, other signs of Alzheimer's disease include:
Those with questions about their symptoms can also contact the Alzheimer's Association at: 800.272.3900.
Pass it on: Alzheimer's disease is distinct from normal aging. Those who are concerned they may have symptoms of Alzheimer's should speak with their doctor.
Follow MyHealthNewsDaily staff writer Rachael Rettner on Twitter @RachaelRettner.