Alzheimer's diseaseAlzheimer's disease


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a long-term neurodegenerative condition that impairs cerebral function irreversibly.

Memory loss, impaired executive function, speech and movement deficiencies, personality changes, and behavioral and psychological disturbances are all symptoms of AD. It also causes a loss of social and occupational functioning. AD is the most common type of dementia

Dementia, a term for memory loss and other cognitive impairments severe enough to interfere with daily life, is most frequently caused by Alzheimer’s disease. 60 to 80 percent of instances of dementia are caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is not a typical aspect of ageing. Ageing is the biggest known risk factor, and those 65 and older make up the bulk of Alzheimer’s patients. If Alzheimer’s disease develops in a person younger than 65, it is referred to as younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is another name for younger-onset dementia. Alzheimer’s disease in younger patients might be in the early, medium, or late stages.

Alzheimer’s disease gets worse with time. It is a progressive illness, meaning that over the course of many years, the symptoms of dementia gradually get worse. Alzheimer’s disease causes mild memory loss in its early stages, but by the disease’s latter stages, people are unable to converse or react to their surroundings. A person with Alzheimer’s typically lives 4 to 8 years following diagnosis, however depending on other variables, they may survive up to 20 years.


Researchers still do not fully comprehend the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Age-related changes in the brain as well as genetic, environmental, and lifestyle variables are likely contributing factors. Depending on the individual, each of these characteristics may play a different role in elevating or lowering the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

There are a few things that may make people more likely to get Alzheimer’s. So far, research has linked the disease with:


Your risk for Alzheimer’s goes up as you get older. For most people, it starts going up after age 65. The greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other dementias is increasing age, but these disorders are not a normal part of aging. While age increases risk, it is not a direct cause of Alzheimer’s.

Family history

People who have a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s are more likely to get it themselves. The risk increases if more than one family member has the illness. When diseases tend to run in families, either heredity (genetics), environmental factors, or both, may play a role.


Scientists know genes are involved in Alzheimer’s. Two categories of genes influence whether a person develops a disease: risk genes and deterministic genes. Alzheimer’s genes have been found in both categories. It is estimated that less than 1% of Alzheimer’s cases are caused by deterministic genes (genes that cause a disease, rather than increase the risk of developing a disease).

Down syndrome

It’s not clear why, but people with this disorder often get Alzheimer’s disease in their 30s and 40s. Advances in function, well-being and life span for people with Down syndrome have revealed an additional health risk: As they age, individuals affected by Down syndrome have a greatly increased risk of developing a type of dementia that’s either the same as or very similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

Other factors which have been linked with Alzheimer’s disease includes;

  • head injury
  • heart-head connection
  • overall healthy aging
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure


Alzheimer’s disease signs develop gradually over a number of years. These symptoms can occasionally be mistaken for those of other illnesses and first attributed to getting older. The rate at which the symptoms progress is different for each individual.

The worsening of symptoms in some situations can be attributed to other medical conditions.

These conditions include:

  • infections
  • stroke
  • delirium

Along with these problems, other things, such specific medications, can exacerbate dementia symptoms. Anyone with Alzheimer’s disease whose symptoms are rapidly getting worse should be seen by a doctor so these can be managed.

There may be reasons behind the worsening of symptoms that can be treated.

The First Stage: Mild Alzheimer’s Dementia

Even with the initial signs of Alzheimer’s disease, a person may be able to drive, work, participate in social events, and live independently in other ways. However, they can start having memory or focus issues. They could have a hard time remembering new information, such as the name of someone they just met or the content they just read. Sadly, this symptom is sometimes ignored as it is seen as a natural aspect of becoming older or a sign of stress, which delays diagnosis and treatment.

Other common symptoms of mild Alzheimer’s include:

  • Misplacing items
  • Language problems, such as difficulty finding the correct words
  • Having issues with planning, organizing, or solving problems
  • Losing a sense of time
  • Vision-related issues, such as with depth perception and colour contrast
  • Increasingly poor judgment leading to bad decisions
  • Mood and personality changes, such as becoming confused, anxious, irritable, or depressed
  • Difficulty completing familiar home, work, or leisure tasks, such as managing a budget
  • Withdrawal from work or social engagements

The Second Stage: Moderate Alzheimer’s Dementia

In mild Alzheimer’s dementia cases, the illness has typically advanced to parts of the brain that regulate language, reasoning, sensory processing, and consciousness, making earlier symptoms more obvious. Damage to the brain can make it difficult for people to say what they are thinking or complete basic tasks, such as paying bills. But they may still remember important details about their personal history.

This is typically the longest stage, potentially lasting for many years.

Symptoms of this period may include:

  • Increased memory loss and confusion, including forgetting names or personally significant events
  • Trouble recognizing family and friends
  • Inability to learn new things or cope with new situations
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
  • Loss of impulse control, such as undressing at inappropriate times or using vulgar language
  • Repetitive statements or movements, such as hand-wringing or tissue-shredding
  • Trouble carrying out activities that require multiple steps, such as getting dressed
  • Difficulty reading, writing, or working with numbers
  • Incontinence
  • Behavioral problems, such as moodiness or inappropriate anger outbursts
  • Restlessness, agitation, anxiety, tearfulness, and increased risk of wandering, especially in the late afternoon or evening (a condition called sundowning)

The Third Stage: Severe Alzheimer’s Dementia

People with severe Alzheimer’s dementia require 24-hour care and are totally dependent on others. They lose the ability to communicate, react to their surroundings, and carry out routine everyday tasks like dressing, eating, and taking a shower. They become confined to a chair or a bed. They eventually lose the ability to control their movement.

This phase could span anywhere from a few weeks to many years.

Other symptoms of advanced Alzheimer’s may include:

  • Seizures
  • Weight loss
  • Increased risk of infections, including skin infections and pneumonia
  • Failure to recognize family and friends
  • Increased sleeping
  • Groaning, grunting, and moaning
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

Even at this advanced stage, patients may experience flashes of lucidity (being aware of their situation) and some of their abilities may come back for a short while.

A person with severe Alzheimer’s may be capable of experiencing a sense of happiness or safety in the presence of loved ones even when he doesn’t seem to recognize them.


Alzheimer’s dementia can be diagnosed in several different ways. Often, Alzheimer’s is diagnosed through a doctor’s exam. They will evaluate your signs and symptoms and do several tests. They may talk to friends and family members to find out more about symptoms and behavior.

It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia. The correct diagnosis is an important first step toward getting the appropriate treatment, care, family education, and plans for the future.


There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there is a lot that can be done to enable someone to live well with the condition. Once a person starts showing signs – memory loss and problems with learning, judgment, communication, and daily life – there are not any treatments that can stop or reverse them.

But there are medicines that can ease some of the symptoms in some people. They can slow down how quickly the disease gets worse, and help the brain work better for longer. It is important to talk to your doctor about which option may work best for you.


As the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still unknown, there is no certain way to prevent the condition. But a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk.

Cardiovascular disease has been linked with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

You may be able to reduce your risk of developing these conditions – as well as other serious problems, such as strokes and heart attacks – by taking steps to improve your cardiovascular health.

These include: 

Other risk factors for dementia

The latest research suggests that other factors are also important, although this does not mean these factors are directly responsible for causing dementia.

These include:

The research concluded that by modifying all the risk factors we are able to change, our risk of dementia could be significantly reduced.

Staying mentally and socially active

There are some evidence to suggest that rates of dementia are lower in people who remain mentally and socially active throughout their lives.

It may be possible to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia by:

  • reading
  • learning foreign languages
  • playing musical instruments
  • volunteering in your local community
  • taking part in group sports, such as bowling
  • trying new activities or hobbies
  • maintaining an active social life

Interventions such as “brain training” computer games have been shown to improve cognition over a short period, but research has not yet demonstrated whether this can help prevent dementia.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided as an information resource only. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication.

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