Alzheimer's Disease

Also called: AD

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities.

AD begins slowly. It first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. People with AD may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know. A related problem, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), causes more memory problems than normal for people of the same age. Many, but not all, people with MCI will develop AD.

In AD, over time, symptoms get worse. People may not recognize family members. They may have trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, they need total care. This can cause great stress for family members who must care for them.

AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. Your risk is also higher if a family member has had the disease.

No treatment can stop the disease. However, some drugs may help keep symptoms from getting worse for a limited time.

NIH: National Institute on Aging

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

The following features are indicative of Alzheimer's Disease:
  • memory problems
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • movement difficulties
  • sense of smell problems
  • word-finding
  • vision or spatial issues
  • impaired reasoning or judgment

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Common Causes of Alzheimer's Disease

The following are the most common causes of Alzheimer's Disease:
  • genetic mutation in the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease

Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Alzheimer's Disease:
  • environmental factors
  • older adults
  • family history

Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease

No, it is not possible to prevent Alzheimer's Disease.
  • genetic mutations in APP, PSEN1, or PSEN2

Occurrence of Alzheimer's Disease

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Alzheimer's Disease cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Alzheimer's Disease most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Alzheimer's Disease can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Alzheimer's Disease:
  • Mini–mental state examination: To diagnose the cognitive impairments
  • Blood tests: To detect other causes of dementia
  • Psychological tests: To diagnose depression

Doctor for Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease:
  • Geriatricians
  • Geriatric psychiatrists
  • Neurologists
  • Neuropsychologists

Complications of Alzheimer's Disease if untreated

Yes, Alzheimer's Disease causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Alzheimer's Disease is left untreated:
  • pneumonia
  • falls
  • fractures
  • bedsores
  • malnutrition

Procedures for Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease

The following procedures are used to treat Alzheimer's Disease:
  • Supportive psychotherapy: Helps mildly impaired people to adjust their illness
  • Reminiscence therapy: Discussion of past experiences personally or in group with the help of household items, photographs, sound recordings and music for mood and cognition
  • Simulated presence therapy: To reduce challenging behaviours by playing a voice recording of the close relatives of the patients
  • Validation therapy: Acceptance of the reality and personal truth of another's experience

Medicines for Alzheimer's Disease

Below is the list of medicines used for Alzheimer's Disease:

Self-care for Alzheimer's Disease

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Alzheimer's Disease:
  • Have healthy Diet: Take a diet which is rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get socially engaged: Helps to preserve mental function

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Alzheimer's Disease:
  • Physical therapy: Do exercise regularly to improve mood and maintain the health of heart, muscles and joints
  • Nutrition: Take diet enriched with nutrition

Patient Support for Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease

The following actions may help Alzheimer's Disease patients:
  • Calm and stable home environment: Reduce behavior problems
  • Education: Learn much about the disease
  • Join a support group: Interact with other people with the same condition to deal with your problems

Time for Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Alzheimer's Disease to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Alzheimer's Disease.
Alzheimer's Caregivers
Mild Cognitive Impairment

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