Alzheimer's disease is a progressive condition that destroys brain cells and structures. People with Alzheimer's disease slowly lose the ability to learn, function and remember.
- Early Alzheimer's disease.
- Intermediate Alzheimer's disease.
Severe Alzheimer's disease.
Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease come on gradually. They begin as mild memory lapses, and progress to profound loss of memory and function. Symptoms include increasing trouble remembering things such as how to get to familiar places, names of friends and family members, where common objects are usually kept, how to perform tasks, such as cooking, dressing, bathing; trouble concentrating on tasks; trouble completing sentences, due to lost or forgotten words; difficulty with daily life tasks such as bill paying and house-keeping; inability to remember the date, time of day, season; and poor coordination.
The cause of Alzheimer's disease is not yet known. Studies suggest that the main mechanism may be the deposit of abnormal deposits of a substance called beta amyloid in different areas of the brain.
Symptoms and medical history are important as well as a physical exam. There are no tests to definitively diagnose Alzheimer's disease. It is important to rule out other causes of such symptoms by complementary exams such as a neurological exam, psychological and mental status testing.
There are no treatments to cure Alzheimer's disease and no certain ways to slow its progression. Four medications have received FDA approval for the treatment of Alzheimer's dementia. Researchers are studying various drugs to see if they can manage the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease or slow its course.
Lifestyle management includes creating an environment in which the patient can receive the needed care, optimizing the quality of life of the patient, and encouraging family and close friends to visit frequently.
There are no guidelines for preventing Alzheimer's disease because the cause is unknown.
- Age: 65 and older
- Previous serious, traumatic brain injury
- Lower educational achievement
- Down's syndrome
- Down's syndrome in a first-degree relative
- Women under 35 who give birth to a child with Down's syndrome
- Family history of Alzheimer's disease
Researchers are studying the following to see if they are related to Alzheimer's disease
- Poor nutrition and vitamin deficiency in childhood.
- Exposure to electromagnetic fields.
- Excess metal in the blood, especially zinc, copper, aluminum, and iron.