Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Alzheimer's disease is a condition that destroys brain cells. People with this disease slowly lose the ability to learn, function, and remember.
It is the most common cause of
dementia. Dementia is a loss in mental abilities that is great enough to interfere with daily life.
The cause of Alzheimer's is not yet known. Two factors that may play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease are:
Factors that may increase your chance of Alzheimer's disease include:
Researchers are studying the following to see if they are related to Alzheimer's disease:
The disease begins as mild memory lapses. It will continue toward a profound loss of memory and function. Alzheimer's disease is divided into three stages:
There are no tests to confirm Alzheimer's. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will ask many questions. This will help to rule out other causes.
Tests to rule out other medical conditions may include:
There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease. There are no certain ways to slow its progression. Four medicines are available to treat some of the symptoms. Other drugs are being studied. The goal is to find a medicine that can manage the symptoms or slow the condition's course.
Only two types of medicines have been approved to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease:
Treatments that are being studied include:
Managing the disease includes:
Psychiatric symptoms may occur with Alzheimer’s disease. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to treat:
Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease is extremely difficult and exhausting. The primary caregiver needs emotional support, rest, and regular breaks.
If you are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, follow your doctor's
There are no guidelines for preventing Alzheimer's disease because the exact cause is unknown. However, the following factors may help you reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease:
Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center
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Last reviewed September 2012 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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