Common Questions About Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that makes it increasingly difficult for people to think, recall information, or carry out daily activities. Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just affect the person who has it. When a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it affects everyone in the family. Here is some information to help answer common questions about Alzheimer’s.

How is Alzheimer’s disease different from dementia?

Alzheimer’s and dementia are two different conditions. Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect brain function rather than a specific disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

Is Alzheimer’s disease common?

The most recent figures from the Alzheimer’s Association estimate that 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. The disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.

What causes Alzheimer’s disease?

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown. It appears that Alzheimer’s is a result of several factors rather than a single cause.

We do know, however, that age is a major factor with the development of Alzheimer’s. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease typically appear after age 60, and the risk increases with age.

Family history also increases a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

Here’s how Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain.

What are the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease?

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s can vary from person to person. There are some common warning signs that may indicate Alzheimer’s disease or a different dementia.

  • Memory problems that get progressively worse
  • Difficulty finding the right words
  • Problems with reasoning
  • Poor judgment
  • Memory loss makes it difficult to carry out daily life
  • Troubles completing familiar tasks
  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • Losing the ability to functioning independently
  • Confusion
  • Forgetting important things

Having some or all of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean a person has Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s must be diagnosed by a medical professional. Be sure to talk to a doctor if you notice these symptoms.

Is there a cure for Alzheimer’s disease?

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment focuses on helping people manage behaviors, maintain cognitive function, and slow the progression of the disease.

Who treats Alzheimer’s disease?

Talk to your primary care physician if you notice symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, such as a psychiatrist, for additional care.