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From time to time, we all misplace our keys or forget someone’s name, at least for a few minutes. This may prompt worry about “getting Alzheimer’s”, particularly if we have an older parent who was afflicted by this disease.
It’s easy to see why people are concerned. Around one in nine people aged over 65 has Alzheimer’s disease. One in three over 85 has the disease. The risk increases with age and has a genetic component.
The traditional view is that if you are younger than 65, with no impact on your daily routine on a regular basis, your memory lapses are not usually caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
These lapses are more likely due to poor sleeping habits, especially sleep apnoea (which periodically reduces oxygenation of the brain), low rates of satisfaction at work and high levels of alcohol consumption.
However, if you or your family members are worried about your memory, see your family doctor. They will check your thyroid function, nutritional status and current medications, among other things, which may affect cognitive function.