Alzheimer's Disease

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Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. These symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for brain disorders that result in the loss of intellectual and social skills. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for Alzheimer’s disease however treatments, such as medications and management strategies, may temporarily improve the symptoms. How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Occur? Alzheimer’s disease damages and kills brain cells that are responsible for specific functions such as thinking, learning and remembering. Compared with a healthy brain, a brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease has many fewer cells and many fewer connections among surviving cells. Although the ultimate cause of brain cell death in Alzheimer’s is not known, there are two types of abnormalities found in the brain of those with the disease that are strongly implicated in damaging and killing brain cells: Plaques: These clumps of a protein, called beta-amyloid, build up in the spaces between nerve cells and may damage and destroy brain cells in several ways, including interfering with cell-to-cell communication. Tangles: Tangles are twisted fibers of another protein, called tau, that build up inside cells. In Alzheimer's, threads of tau protein twist into abnormal tangles inside brain cells, leading to failure of the transport system. This failure is also associated with the decline and death of brain cells. What are the Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease? While a specific cause of Alzheimer’s is not known, there are factors that can increase your risk of developing the disease. These include: Age: Increasing age is the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Most individuals with the disease are 65 years or older. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles around every five years after age 65 and nearly half of those older than age 85 have Alzheimer's. Family history: Your risk of developing Alzheimer's is higher if a first-degree relative (your parent, sibling or child) has the disease. Genetics: Another risk factor involved in Alzheimer’s is genetics. Scientists have identified rare changes in three genes that almost guarantee a person who inherits them will develop Alzheimer's. However, these mutations occur in less than 5 percent of those who have Alzheimer's disease. Sex: Women are more likely than men to develop Alzheimer's disease. Past head trauma: People who have experienced severe head trauma appear to have a greater risk of Alzheimer's disease. Lifestyle and health factors: There is some evidence to suggest that factors such as inadequate exercise, smoking, alcohol abuse and lack of social engagement can increase the chance of developing Alzheimer’s.  

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Regardless of age, everyone experiences occasional episodes of forgetfulness. But sometimes, when your memory loss occurs more and more frequently, this could mean a more serious condition. If you find yourself struggling to find the right word, having difficulty with tasks that once came easily and feeling like your memory problems are affecting your daily life, then you may b

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There is no one test that confirms you have Alzheimer’s disease. As memory loss and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be caused by many different factors, your doctor will run various tests to help clarify the diagnosis and make a judgment about whether Alzheimer’s is the most likely cause of your symptoms. Doctors can almost always determine whether you have dementia, i

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This seven-stage framework below gives a general outline of how abilities change during the course of the disease. It is based on a system developed by Barry Reisberg, M.D., Clinical Director of the New York University School of Medicine's Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center. Stage 1 – No Impairment: Memory and cognitive abilities appear normal. Stage

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While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, doctors can offer a range of treatments to help you reduce or delay the symptoms. Medications Cholinesterase inhibitors: These medications – including donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon) and galantamine (Razadyne) – work by boosting levels of a chemical messenger involved in memory and judgment. These medi

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Currently, there’s no proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. But you may be able to lower your risk of developing the disease by keeping physically and mentally active and making lifestyle changes such as those below: Keep your mind active: Mentally stimulating activities such as memory training games, puzzles and cross words may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s

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