For some people, memory loss can simply occur as a natural part of getting older.
You might occasionally forget where you placed your keys, for example—or your glasses. Or you may feel slower when trying to learn something new. However, this is different from dementia—an umbrella term for more severe loss of memory and thinking skills over time. There are a few types of dementia, but the most common type is Alzheimer’s disease.
Below are five things to know about Alzheimer’s disease, including signs to look for, plus newly available treatments.
How many people are living with Alzheimer’s Disease?
Currently, an estimated 6.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease1. It can affect those of many ages, but symptoms usually first appear after age 60. In people aged 65 and older, about one in nine has Alzheimer’s disease2. And generally speaking, the more we age, the higher the risk.
Common signs to look for
People with Alzheimer’s disease experience a steady decline in their ability to think, reason, remember and make decisions.
So, memory loss getting in the way of your daily life can be an early signal. Other common signs to look out for include:
- Forgetting things you recently learned.
- Difficulty following a plan, working with numbers or solving problems.
- Having a hard time with familiar tasks—such as driving to a place you know or making a grocery list.
- Getting lost or confused, including forgetting where you are or how you got there.
- Experiencing mood or personality changes, leaving you feeling confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.
To see a full list of 10 early warning signs, you can visit https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs.
When should you call a doctor?
If you, a loved one or a friend are noticing any signs above, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. They can offer an evaluation and run tests to judge thinking skills, impaired memory and more. Health care providers often also rely on brain imaging or diagnostic tests to help with a correct diagnosis.
Early diagnosis can help
Alzheimer’s is as a progressive disease. This means symptoms gradually worsen over the years. In later stages, individuals can find it difficult to hold a conversation or respond to their environment.
However, catching symptoms early can lead to developing a treatment plan to help. Proper treatment may slow disease progression, improve quality of life and even extend life expectancy.
Recent advancements in treating Alzheimer’s disease
Though there’s not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, some medications are available to reduce symptoms.
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced approval of a new medication called Leqembi™—a drug that could be helpful in treating early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s in trial stages, but is great news for patients battling this irreversible disease. The treatment is administered as an infusion every two weeks, and currently costs about $26,500 per year.
Consider our pharmacy team for more help
If you have questions about available treatments—our experienced teams at Meritain Health Pharmacy Solutions (MPS), including the CARE Program, may be able to help.
Teams of clinical pharmacists, specialists and account executives can answer questions about treatment affordability, who may be eligible, common side effects and more.
Contact Meritain Health if you’d like more information.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice