Learn About Alzheimer’s Disease and 8 ways to Lower Your Risk of Getting It

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Health concept: healthy eating and exercising for optimal health

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. It begins with mild memory loss and can lead to losing the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment. If not treated, it can affect a person’s ability to go about their normal routines.

  • Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. This memory loss is not a normal part of aging.

Scientists don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s. However, like other chronic conditions, it is probably a result of several things.

How many people have Alzheimer’s disease?

Nearly 6.7 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease.By 2060, that number is expected to grow to 13.9 million.2 You may have a friend or loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.

  • Most people living with Alzheimer’s disease are 65 or older. People younger than 65 can have Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s uncommon.
Brain disease diagnosis with medical doctor diagnosing elder

Is there a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease?

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease at this time, but there are things you can do to help lower your risk.

  1. Controlling high blood pressure
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight
  3. Quitting smoking
  4. Being physically active
  5. Eating healthy meals
  6. Getting enough sleep
  7. Avoiding alcohol or drinking alcohol in moderation
  8. Managing diabetes

You don’t have to make these changes all at once. For example, getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep at night, getting an annual physical exam, or simply taking a walk every day may make a big difference in brain health.3

If you notice that your memory is changing or getting worse, you should talk to a medical professional.

  1. Alzheimer’s Association. 2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures: https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf [PDF – 3 MB]
  2. Public Policy and Aging Report. Promoting Healthy Aging: Public Health as a Leader for Reducing Dementia Risk. https://academic.oup.com/ppar/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ppar/prad011/7224661
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Aging and Health Matters Podcast. Modifiable Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias. https://tools.cdc.gov/medialibrary/index.aspx#/media/id/730355