September is World Alzheimer's Month

Young woman with grandmother

Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and the ways it affects us all.

Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is a brain condition that affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.
  • The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases with age, but Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging.
  • Most people living with Alzheimer’s disease are older than 65 years. However, people younger than age 65 can develop Alzheimer’s disease but it is not common.
  • Scientists do not know what causes Alzheimer’s disease. However, like other chronic conditions, it is probably a result of multiple factors.
  • Controlling high blood pressure, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

When is memory loss more than forgetfulness?

Although everyone’s brain changes as they age, it’s important to understand that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Memory loss is typically one of the first warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, but occasionally forgetting words or names does not mean a person has Alzheimer’s. There are other signs that someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may experience in addition to memory problems. In the early stages of the disease, these can include:

  • Getting lost in familiar places.
  • Having trouble handling money and paying bills.
  • Repeating questions.
  • Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks.
  • Displaying poor judgment.
  • Losing things or misplacing them in odd places.
  • Displaying mood and personality changes
elderly woman consulting with a physician

Talk to your doctor about memory loss.

elderly gentleman

Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths have increased over the past 16 years in every race, sex, and ethnicity category, and will most likely continue to increase as the population continues to age. MMWR Study: Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease—United States, 1999-2014

Be Part of the Cure!

Current efforts to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease will depend, in large part, on volunteers who participate in studies. There is an urgent need for adults of all ages and health levels to participate in research. Several opportunities exist to participate in research studies, including

Before deciding to participate in research, it is important to know about the benefits and risks to you. This linkexternal icon provides more information about questions to ask before participating in research.

CDC’s Healthy Brain Initiative

Through the Healthy Brain Initiative, CDC’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging Program applies public health principles, strategies, and expertise to promote brain health and address cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. This work is carried out in close collaboration with state and national partners. Another area of focus is the health and well-being of caregivers. This work is guided by the report, The Healthy Brain Initiative: The Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013–2018.