Alzheimer's and Dementia Learning Center
Last Edited: October 9th, 2012

Alzheimer's and Dementia Learning Center

Alzheimer's is a disease that affects a person's brain and mental processes. It is a form of dementia that is highly common. Of people diagnosed with dementia, up to 80 percent have Alzheimer's Disease. The disorder is irreversible and causes the individual to suffer from loss of memory, changes in personality, and confusion. In addition, a person with Alzheimer's often loses the ability to effectively communicate or function.

There are certain risk factors that are associated with this disorder. Age is one of the most common factors, with the largest group of people affected over the age of 65. However, people as young as 40 may also show signs of early Alzheimer's. Genetics are another contributing factor. When there is a family history of Alzheimer's, one's risk of developing the condition increases. Health professionals also believe that people with diabetes, high cholesterol or blood pressure may also have an increased risk. There are certain symptoms that are associated with Alzheimer's that may signal its presence. These symptoms include having an increasingly difficult time remembering recent happenings, people or names. An inability to follow simple directions or completing routine tasks may also develop. Other symptoms of Alzheimer's include moments of confusion, difficulty concentrating, and a recurring sense of being disoriented. If a person has the disease, these symptoms worsen over time.

The disease is one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States of America. A person who is diagnosed with the disease typically has a life expectancy that ranges between five to eight years. Although research is ongoing, there is currently no cure and no treatment beyond those that are for symptoms. As difficult as Alzheimer's is for the person who has the disease, it is also difficult for family members, friends and loved ones. Often, the family is tasked with becoming caregivers when their loved one is no longer able to care for his or herself. Not only is this a full-time responsibility, but because of personality and behavioral changes associated with the disease, loved ones must also cope with the loss of the personality of the person that they once knew. The person that they are caring for or visit may no longer recognize them, may act out in a violent way, or may wander. Caregivers must take caution and remember to care for their own needs as the stress of being a caregiver can take its toll and may cause health and emotional problems.

Included in this article, readers will find further resources to information about Alzheimer's. This will include information about risk factors, symptoms, tests, and treatment options. Other information ranges from prevention to what is happening in terms of research, to living with the disease as a caregiver or as the person affected. Finally, readers will find links to Alzheimer's organizations and associations.

Risk Factors

Symptoms, Signs and Tests

Treatment

Prevention

Complications

Research

Professional Organizations

Living with Alzheimer's


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