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Understanding Alzheimers

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Submitted By nessameek
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Understanding Alzheimer’s disease

What Is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurologic disorder that affects the brain. It causes dementia. Its earliest and main symptom is steadily increasing memory loss. Problems with getting lost, language, and emotional control are also common. These deficits may worsen over five to 20 years. Treatments can help maintain thinking, memory, and speaking skills. No treatments can currently change or reverse the disease. But, there are many ways to help maintain quality of life.

What Is the Difference between Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia?

As the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease has improved, researchers now recognize that it is a process that can occur in people who initially have no symptoms. When Alzheimer’s disease causes very mild symptoms, the process is now referred to as mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease. When the symptoms begin to interfere with daily functioning, that phase of the illness is referred to as dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a term that means the person has significant difficulty in daily life due to problems with thinking and memory. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

What Causes Alzheimer’s disease?

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet known. Some people may have genes that put them at higher risk for Alzheimer’s. Genetics is the likely cause when the disease strikes people in their 40s or 50s. But most people who get Alzheimer’s dementia are 60 or older. In these people, genes may play a role, but so might other factors, such as having type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Alzheimer’s occurs because brain cells are slowly dying. As the cells die, parts of the brain shrink and stop working normally. The brain shows three telltale signs of the disease:
• Amyloid plaques (clumps of material in the...

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