• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: Does forgetfulness when you’re young mean you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease?

November 13, 2017

Just about everyone misplaces their cellphones or house keys now and then. But how much forgetfulness is normal? Does forgetfulness indicate that you'll develop dementia later in life? Dr. Ronald Petersen, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, has insight into what absentmindedness means for your future.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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How many times have you rummaged through drawers and your pockets because you can’t remember where you put the car keys? Does forgetfulness when you’re young mean you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease later?

Dr. Petersen says, “Those who have a less memory facility earlier in life may be more predisposed to developing the disease later on. But, again, you could do things about that. There are some modifiable learning techniques that may be beneficial.”

A National Academy of Sciences report describes three things you can do to help ward off Alzheimer’s disease: Keep your mind active, control blood pressure and do aerobic exercises.

Dr. Petersen also says getting adequate sleep and eating a heart-healthy diet that includes fruits; vegetables; whole grains; lean meats; low-fat dairy; and fats, such as olive oil, may help, as well.

So the next time you’re searching for your keys, glasses or the remote, remember that you can take steps to help improve memory now and as you age.

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