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Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

  • It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment.

  • Alzheimer’s disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.

  • Alzheimer's can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

Younger people may get Alzheimer’s disease, but it is less common. Symptoms of the disease can first appear after age 60, and the risk increases with age however, Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging.

Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but here is what we do know about this disease:

  • The best known risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is age.

  • Family history—researchers believe that genetics may play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Changes in the brain can begin years before the first symptoms appear.

  • There is growing scientific evidence that healthy behaviors, which have been shown to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, may also reduce risk for subjective cognitive decline.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life: forgetting events, repeating yourself or relying on more aids to help you remember (like sticky notes or reminders).

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems: having trouble paying bills or cooking recipes you have used for years.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure: having problems with cooking, driving places, using a cell phone, or shopping.

4. Confusion with time or place: having trouble understanding an event that is happening later, or losing track of dates.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations: having more difficulty with balance or judging distance, tripping over things at home, or spilling or dropping things more often.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing: having trouble following or joining a conversation or struggling to find a word you are looking for (saying “that thing on your wrist that tells time” instead of “watch”).

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: placing car keys in the washer or dryer or not being able to retrace steps to find something.

8. Decreased or poor judgment: being a victim of a scam, not managing money well, paying less attention to hygiene, or having trouble taking care of a pet.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities: not wanting to go to church or other activities as you usually do, not being able to follow football games or keep up with what’s happening.

10. Changes in mood and personality: getting easily upset in common situations or being fearful or suspicious.

How Is Alzheimer's Disease Treated?

There is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease however, medical management can improve quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and for their caregivers.

Treatment addresses several areas:

  • Helping people maintain brain health.

  • Managing behavioral symptoms.

  • Slowing or delaying symptoms of the disease.

Alzheimer's Disease And Cognitive Health Resources:


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