HEALTH FACT: What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

More than 5.5 million Americans, mostly 65 years or older, may have dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. What is Alzheimer’s disease? It is a process where memory and thinking skills gradually decline to a stage where the individual is unable to do the simplest tasks. The simple tasks could be from brushing your teeth to being unable to remember where you are after going on a walk or being unable to recognize their family members. Alzheimer’s disease is fatal due to abnormal changes in the brain activity which kills brain cells. The cause of this disease is unknown. The cause could be related to genetics, environmental factors, or other behavioral factors like lifestyle. The most common symptom is memory loss, which ranges from mild to severe. With mild memory problems, you may have a harder time remembering where your car keys were. You may end wandering to a location and couldn’t remember why you were there in the first place — this is the stage when people are typically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. With severe memory problems, the brain would greatly shrink. By this time, you will need to depend on others for care.

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