What is Alzheimer's Disease?

June 22, 2016

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. Stay informed:

Alzheimer's disease is not a part of the normal aging process. It's a progressive disease that causes brain cells to degenerate, destroying memory and mental functions. It is the most common form of dementia - a general term for the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life - and is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

Though Alzheimer's disease typically affects people over the age of 65, up to 5% of people with the disease have early-onset Alzheimer's, which usually appears in individuals in their 40s or 50s. Forgetting newly learned information, repeating questions and statements, confusion, misplacing things, and mood and personality changes may be signs that someone is developing Alzheimer's. Most of the time, people with Alzheimer's disease gradually progress through main three stages - mild (early-stage), moderate (middle-stage), and severe (late-stage). Some individuals may decline more rapidly. Eventually, those with Alzheimer's may lose the ability to function properly and respond to their environment.

Scientists believe that for a majority of people, Alzheimer's is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. The best-known risk factor for Alzheimer's is increasing age, although genetics appear to be a risk factor as well. There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, but medical treatment can help with symptoms and enhancing engagement may improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.

Join us Monday, June 27 at 1pm when Alzheimer's Association Regional Manager Meghan Lawton presents an information session on Alzheimer's Disease and the many resources the Alzheimer's Association can provide. To learn more or to RSVP, contact Shaylyn Ladd at [email protected] or 828-465-8028.