Frequently Asked Questions
Colleague Dr. Henry Schneiderman and I put together a web-based self-assessment of risk factors in 2012. It was based on family history, lifestyle, and other factors such as depression. Today there are more formal screening tools but most focus on whether or not someone HAS dementia, versus their risk factors.
Risks can be categorized into two areas – things we can control, and things we cannot. There are two or three factors we cannot control: age (the older you are, the higher your risk); family history of dementia; and whether or not a first-degree blood relative has Down’s Syndrome or young-onset Alzheimer’s.
The rest are things we can (or can try to) control: weight/BMI, cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, untreated depression, smoking, drinking, concussions and other things which put our brain at risk – yes, if you have a brain, you are at risk for getting Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
The important message is that most of our risks we can try to control – we point this out because instead of saying, “My parents hated their statin medications,” we can say, “Hey doc, I know that high cholesterol is a risk factor for dementia, and I don’t want meds, so what are the other ways I can lower my cholesterol?” Bottom line: talk to you doctor and control what you can.
We don’t know what we don’t know. Could you learn as you go? Of course you could. I did. A coach cuts your learning curve and allows you to focus in a strategic fashion, instead of being overwhelmed with the dementia-care maze. Contact us today.