What is Alzheimer’s Disease? The most common form of dementing illness,
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the
brain, causing impaired memory, thinking and behavior. The person with AD may
experience confusion, personality and behavior changes, impaired judgment, and
difficulty finding words, finishing thoughts or following directions. It
eventually leaves its victims incapable of caring for themselves.
What happens to the brain in Alzheimer’s Disease? In AD The nerve cells
in the part of the brain that controls memory, thinking, are damaged,
interrupting the passage of messages between cells. The cells develop
distinctive changes that are called neuritic plaques (clusters of degenerating
nerve cell ends) and neurofibrillary tangles (masses of twisted filaments which
accumulate in previously health nerve cells). The cortex (thinking center) of
the brain shrinks (atrophies), The spaces in the center of the brain become
enlarged, also reducing surface area in the brain.
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease? Alzheimer’s Disease is a
dementing illness which leads to loss of intellectual capacity. Symptoms usually
occur in older adults (although people in their 40s and 5Os may also be
affected) and include loss of language skills such as trouble finding words,
problems with abstract thinking, poor or decreased judgment, disorientation in
place and time, changes in mood or behavior and changes in personality. The
overall result is a noticeable decline in personal activities or work
Who is affected by Alzheimer’s Disease? Alzheimer’s Disease knows no
social or economic boundaries and affects men and women almost equally. The
disease strikes older persons more frequently, affecting approximately 10% of
Americans over age 65 and 47% of those over age 85.
Is Alzheimer’s Disease hereditary? There is a slightly increased risk
that children, brothers, and...