- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Alzheimer's Disease: The Basics
Alzheimer's disease is a devastating, incurable progressive brain disease affecting roughly 5.1 million Americans. Symptoms of Alzheimer's typically show up about age 60 and slowly destroy a persons mental capabilities. Alzheimer's disease disrupts thinking and memory skills and eventually robs those affected of the ability to preform the simplest tasks of daily living.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, however recent studies have shown the early diagnosis and treatment can slow down the progression and help manage the symptoms for some people.
What Happens in The Brain
The loss of cognitive functioning is defined as dementia. Dementia interferes with a persons ability to perform daily functions by affecting memory, thinking and reasoning. The affects of dementia range from mild to severe and in some cases are reversible to some extent. Alzheimers's disease and strokes are the two leading causes of dementia in older people, but there are others including:
- Side effects of medication
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Chronic alcoholism
- Brain tumors
- B-12 deficiency
- Some thyroid, kidney and liver disorders
Life changes can also create temporary bouts of dementia for ageing persons, a sudden relocation, loss of a spouse or particularly emotional event can produce disorientation for an elder.
Alzheimer's or Dementia?
Not all memory loss is Alzheimer's, it is very typical among ageing populations to experience sudden bouts of memory loss due to changes in medication, circumstances or health. First seek qualified medical attention and treatment. If you believe you or your loved one shows signs of memory impalement get answers from your physician and seek treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment have shown positive results in reducing the destructive symptoms caused by Alzheimer's disease.
- Alzheimer's Association
Learn about signs and symptoms, stages, diagnosis, research progress, treatment and care of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Get support from our 24/7 Helpline, message boards and your local Alzheimer's Association Chapter.
- FAQs | National Institute on Aging
Frequently asked questions about Alzheimer's disease