Sunday, February 10, 2013

What is Alzheimer's disease?

What is Alzheimer's Disease?
Alzheimer's is the most common type of Dementia that targets the brain. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability. Symptoms usually develop slowly but get worse over time. It may become severe enough to interfere with activities of daily living (ADL). The majority Alzheimer's patients are 65 years or older but this is not a normal part of aging. A little over 5% of Alzheimer's patients are early onset Alzheimer's between the ages of 40-50. 

Dementia worsens over a number of years. Memory loss is mild at first, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals loose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. These individuals live an average of 8 years after their symptoms become noticeable to others but survival can range from four to 20 years depending on age and other health conditions.

Who is at risk for Alzheimer's disease?
You are at risk if:
You have a close blood relative with the disease (brother, sister, father or mother)
history of head trauma
have certain genes linked to the disease
being female
having high blood pressure for a long time

People that suffer from severe Alzheimer's disease can longer understand  language, recognize family faces, and perform basic ADL's like eating, bathing and dressing.