Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. It is a progressive brain disease that gradually diminishes memory and reasoning skills. As a result, performing common brain tasks like thinking and reasoning becomes difficult. The condition also typically affects behavior.
Different stages of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease comes in different stages. People with mild Alzheimer’s disease may only experience slight memory loss or other minor problems, like forgetting someone’s name. As the disease advances, however, the likelihood of getting lost or having difficulty managing bills and finances increases.
In the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s, the parts of the brain that control language and conscious thought are often affected. Memory loss and confusion worsen. During this point, someone with the disease may struggle to recognize familiar people. In most cases, people are diagnosed during the mild stage. Early-onset Alzheimer’s is a rare form of the disease that strikes in people between the ages of 35 and 65. It represents just 5 percent of cases, according to the National Institute on Aging.
Symptoms and Treatment
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease usually appear in people over the age of 60. Beginning signs of Alzheimer’s disease include mixing up words or displaying impaired reasoning or judgment. While a definitive cause remains unknown, genetic factors might be at play. Experts say that the earlier a person seeks Alzheimer’s treatment, the better. Some functions might actually be preserved. However, the National Institute on Aging warns that the disease is likely too complicated to be delayed or prevented by one intervention. Some medications are currently available to help manage symptoms, but they do not stop the progression of the disease. Other treatments aim to improve anxiety and sleep problems. In the most severe cases of Alzheimer’s, brain tissue shrinks to the point that affected people become completely dependent on others and may be unable to communicate.
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