What are Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. More than 4
million Americans have AD. The disease is characterized by memory loss, language
deterioration, poor judgment, and an indifferent attitude.
Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person’s
ability to carry out daily activities. It involves the parts of the brain that
control thought, memory, and language. Healthy brain tissue dies or
deteriorates, causing a steady decline in memory and mental abilities.
AD is not the only form of dementia. Doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s disease by
doing tests to eliminate all the other possible reasons for the person’s symptoms. If no
other cause is found, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is usually given.
AD causes progressive degeneration of the brain. It may start with slight memory
loss and confusion but eventually leads to severe, irreversible mental impairment that
destroys a person’s ability to remember, reason, learn, and imagine. Usually, family
members notice gradual—not sudden—changes in a person with AD.
As AD progresses, symptoms become severe, and family
members usually seek medical help. From simple
forgetfulness to severe dementia, progression might take five to ten years or
People with mild AD may live alone and function reasonably well.
People with moderate AD may need some assistance. People with advanced
AD generally requires total care.
Written by: Marissa Newman 11/10/2020