What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, even though the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, the majority of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information. Alzheimer’s changes typically begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. As Alzheimer’s advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.People with memory loss or other possible signs of Alzheimer’s may find it hard to recognize they have a problem. Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends. Anyone experiencing dementia-like symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Help is Available
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, you are not alone. The Alzheimer’s Association is the trusted resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease.