What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness of the brain that causes memory loss and disorder of thought and behavior.Unfortunately, the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not fully understood and includes a combination of genetic factors, lifestyle factors, and environmental factors. The condition usually begins with loss of short-term memory that may cause the individual to forget names, instructions and recent conversations, often leading to the individual to constantly repeat questions (despite getting answers) and the contents of recent conversations. This is the mild stage of the disease.. As the disease progresses into the moderate stage the individual may begin wandering and getting lost on familiar routes, and begins struggling to complete tasks that he or she could previously perform with ease. Personality changes usually follow these changes and may be characterized by paranoia, delusions and hallucinations which can further exacerbate patient's caregiver distress. In the late stages, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease lose their ability to communicate with others and become fully dependent on others for care such as feeding, bathing, and clothing. In certain cases, Alzheimer’s disease may be complicated by seizures.

Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed following a neurological examination that may involve neuropsychological testing (involving tests of memory domains, problem solving, attention, counting, and language), brain scans, and the exclusion of reversible conditions that may mimic Alzheimer’s disease usually through blood tests. Advanced brain scans and spinal fluid examination are available in some centers that enable more precise diagnosis based on pathological findings such as the presence of amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and tau protein. Following the diagnosis, most individuals with Alzheimer’s disease live for an average of 8 to 10 years, although this life expectancy can be as little as 3 years depending on the time of diagnosis and the presence of other medical comorbidities.

Our Social Links