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Alzheimer’s Disease Information – What is Alzheimers Disease?

What is Alzheimer’s disease (AD)?

Alzheimer’s-related dementia is a brain disorder which severely affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. AD initially involves the parts of the brain controlling thought, memory, and language. Although scientists are learning more about the disease everyday, right now they still do not know what causes AD, and there is no cure.

AD is named about Dr. Alzheimer who noticed unusual changes in a woman who died of mental illness. He discovered abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary tangles). Today, plaques and tangles are considered signs of AD.

How many Americans have AD?

Scientists think that up to 4.5 million Americans suffer from AD. The disease usually begins after age 60, and risk goes up with age. While younger people also may get AD, it is much less common. About 5 percent of men and women ages 65 to 74 have AD, and nearly half of those age 85 and older may have the disease. It is important to note, however, that AD is not a normal part of aging.

How long can a person live with AD?

AD is a slow disease, starting with mild memory problems and ending with severe brain damage. The course the disease takes and how fast changes occur vary from person to person. On average, AD patients live from 8 to 10 years after they are diagnosed, though the disease can last for as many as 20 years.

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at home is a difficult task and can become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. Research has shown that caregivers themselves often are at increased risk for depression and illness, especially if they do not receive adequate support from family, friends, and the community………Read More


Adapted from U.S. National Institute of Health on Aging

Page Last Updated July 9, 2008

Last Modified April 27, 2009 @ 1:52 pm
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