Alzheimer's Disease

A couple struggling with Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities.

Alzheimer’s disease begins slowly. It first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know. A related problem, mild cognitive impairment, causes more memory problems than normal for people of the same age. Many, but not all people with mild cognitive impairment will develop Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s symptoms get worse. Over time, a person with Alzheimer’s may not recognize family members and have trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, they need total care. This can cause great stress for family members who must care for them.

Alzheimer’s disease usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. Your risk is also higher if a family member has had the disease.

No treatment can stop the disease. However, some drugs may help keep symptoms from getting worse for a limited time.

Source:
NIH: National Institute on Aging
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/alzheimersdisease.html