Last Updated: April 19, 2019
Several health ailments have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, the disease itself can be a risk factor for other health problems, particularly as it progresses to later stages.
Learn more about six health ailments that accompany Alzheimer’s and ways to decrease your risk of the disease through lifestyle changes.
In the United States, more than 5.8 million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s. Research has shown that the disease results from multiple factors – rather than a single cause – and common risk factors include advanced age, family history and certain genetic mutations.
Due to the effects that Alzheimer’s has on the body, it also increases an individual’s risks for other health ailments, especially as the disease advances. In the early stages, Alzheimer’s affects not just memory but language as well. So, seniors with Alzheimer’s may not report symptoms of another illness, such as a cold or even an injury.
The Mayo Clinic explains that the cognitive changes, impaired judgment and memory loss of Alzheimer’s make it more difficult to treat other health conditions. For instance, people with Alzheimer’s may not follow a prescribed treatment plan for another illness and they may not notice any other medication’s side effects. So, what might start as a minor health issue may escalate to a severe problem.
As Alzheimer’s advances to later stages, it impacts a person’s ability to balance as well as control their bladder and bowels.
Our parents and senior loved ones with the disease can then become susceptible to several serious health problems, including:
Alzheimer’s affects individuals differently. So, not all people will suffer the same disease-related health conditions, although difficulty swallowing and incontinence are common ailments.
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s cannot be prevented. But, people with a family history of Alzheimer’s or dementia may consider incorporating certain lifestyle habits into their routine, like:
Talk to your health care provider about your risks for Alzheimer’s before you make any lifestyle changes, especially if you already take medication for another health issue.