And what to do about it.

​5 Signs Your Bad Memory May Be An Early Sign Of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is scary, and it’s understandable that you may be hyper-aware of any memory issues you might have, wondering if they could be early symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia. This is probably especially true if it runs in your family and you’ve seen others deal with Alzheimer’s.

But while a genetic link exists, having Alzheimer’s in your family doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to develop it, too—even if you’re experiencing symptoms like a bad memory. “Genetics matters but, contrary to popular thought, genetic predisposition does not set in stone what will happen in the future,” says Amit Sachdev, M.D., an assistant professor and director of the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine at Michigan State University.

Alzheimer’s disease is the only top 10 cause of death in America that can’t be prevented, cured, or slowed, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The organization estimates that 5.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from the disease, and it’s expected to increase over time, due in large part to the growing aged population.

While it’s easy to go down a bad train of thought if you make some memory goofs, keep this in mind: The disease typically affects older people, says Daniel Franc, M.D., Ph.D., a neurologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. So, if you’re having memory issues now, it’s unlikely to be an Alzheimer’s symptom.

Still, it’s good to be aware of the signs, just in case. Here are the top indicators your bad memory may be an early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease:

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