Posted on May 12, 2008 by DementiaGuide
What is Alzheimer's disease?Alzheimer's disease is a serious brain disorder that causes the destruction of brain cells, leading to severe problems with thinking, remembering, understanding, behavior, and communicating. It is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and decline in basic intellectual functions. Alzheimer's is fatal as there is no known cure, making it the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Likewise, although Alzheimer's tends to worsen over time, treatments for the symptoms and general support from loved ones may improve the quality of life for those afflicted.
Early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's diseaseMemory loss and confusion are generally considered to be early signs of Alzheimer's disease. These signs usually present themselves after age 65; however, Alzheimer's can also develop earlier in life and those who develop the disease in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are said to have "early onset" Alzheimer's.
Other warning signs include sudden difficulty performing routine tasks such as getting dressed, making dinner, cleaning the house, or driving to the grocery store or work. Persons with Alzheimer's may also develop problems communicating, finding it difficult to remember the correct word to describe their thought. Finally, persons with Alzheimer's tend to display poor judgment that often leads to changes in behavior and personality.
Prevention of Alzheimer's diseaseThe risk of developing Alzheimer's disease increases with age and a family history of Alzheimer's. However, neither of these risk factors means that a person will develop dementia. Likewise, there are many preventative steps you can take to delay the onset of Alzheimer's, or, in some cases, to try and avoid it altogether. These steps include: a healthy, well-balanced diet; regular exercise; engaging in social activities that require interaction and communication; crossword puzzles, games, reading, and other activities that require abstract thinking, and preventing head injury by wearing bicycle helmets, wearing a seatbelt, and modifying your residence to avoid the chance of slips and falls.
Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet
Alzheimer's Searching for a Cure