By the way, doctor: What are the chances of getting Alzheimer's in my 80s?

What are the chances of getting Alzheimer's in my 80s?

Q. I'm 86, and someone told me that I'm no longer in danger of getting Alzheimer's disease. My memory isn't quite what it was, though. Would Alzheimer's medicines help?

A. You're right: At your age, if you haven't developed Alzheimer's disease, you're much less likely to do so than someone in their 50s.

In fact, compared with the average 50-year-old, you're less likely to develop a lot of diseases. Most diseases are caused by a combination of genes and lifestyle. Because you have reached your mid-80s in good shape, odds are that you're blessed with a pretty good set of genes and have a healthy lifestyle that protected you from many health problems.

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