Alarmist scenario: Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
More likely cause: Fatigue, stress, or depression; certain medications, including antidepressants and sedatives; or chronic multitasking.
Reality check: “Fewer than 5 percent of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are under 65,” says geriatrician Laurel Coleman, a spokesperson for the Alzheimer’s Association. The rare early-onset variation has a strong genetic link. Memory loss that’s a cause for concern affects job performance, makes day-to-day tasks difficult, diminishes language skills, and causes changes in mood or behavior.
Rx: Coleman recommends getting seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night, taking steps to reduce stress, and considering whether you might suffer from depression. If you’re taking medications, ask your doctor if they could be impairing your memory.