Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease Facts

  • Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive brain disorder, meaning that memory and thinking skills slowly worsen over time
  • Over 5.5 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s  Disease
  • Approximately 10% of American over age 65 have Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Of the Americans who have Alzheimer’s Disease, 81 percent are age 75 or older
  • Older black/African Americans and Hispanic Americans are more likely than older whites to have Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias
  • In the mild or early stage of Alzheimer’s Disease, most people are able to function independently in many life domains like being able to drive, work or participate in favorite activity.  However, they may require and/or benefit from assistance with some life activities to optimize independence and safety. Assessment by a health professional with expertise in dementia evaluation and care may be extremely helpful in helping individuals and families to determine the best balance of supports to maximize quality of life and safety.
  • Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the US

Over 5.5 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s  Disease

Brain Changes in Alzheimer’s

  • Alzheimer’s primarily occurs as a result of proteins building in the brain, forming amyloid plaques and tau tangles
  • The plaques and tangles cause a loss of connection between brain cells, also known as neurons
  • Brain changes may occur years prior to the onset of any clear dementia symptoms
  • Alzheimer’s is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors

Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

  • Duration of illness for individuals age 65 or older is on average of 4 to 8 years after diagnosis.  However, some people live as long as 20 years with Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Memory impairment is one of the common symptoms of Alzheimer’s
  • Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s may include difficulty finding words, impaired reasoning skills, or problems with spatial awareness
  • Currently, researchers are studying possible biomarkers, or biological signs, in the blood and spinal fluid in order to find a way to detect Alzheimer’s early-on
  • Common Signs of Mild Alzheimer’s: trouble handling money, getting lost, repeating questions, and personality changes
  • Common Signs of Moderate Alzheimer’s: more struggles with controlling language, getting dressed, learning new things
  • Common signs of Severe Alzheimer’s: the individual is completely dependent on others and they are unable to communicate