Alzheimer's Disease Facts

The disease can impair memory, thinking, and behavior, causing personality and behavior changes, language deterioration, and emotional apathy. Learn more about Alzheimer's disease ›

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

Which aisle stocks the peanut butter? Where is the project file? What's the name of that actor in the movie we saw last week? These are all questions that can unhinge our memory at times. A little memory blip is nothing to worry about. We all have them now and then. But some occurrences could signal a more serious memory problem. Although aging ups the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD), the condition isn't a normal part of aging. So how do you know what's normal behavior and what's not? Here are 10 red flags to watch out for.

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Treatments for Alzheimer's Disease

Many people believe that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can't be treated. The truth is that medications are available that may help slow the progression of symptoms. Although these drugs don’t work for everyone, they offer some hope for the more than 5 million people who have AD.

The FDA has approved five medications to treat Alzheimer’s disease. All the drugs may help prevent some AD symptoms, such as confusion and forgetfulness, from getting worse for a while.

In addition to memory loss and confusion, AD can cause worsening speech and mood swings. In the later stages, the disease destroys a person’s personality and ability to think and function. In some people, AD worsens quickly. In others, it progresses slowly.

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Living with Alzheimer's

Diagnosing memory problems can be confusing. In older people, it's easy to mistake such problems for the everyday forgetfulness that some people experience as they grow older.

"However, if a person's memory problems are severe and persistent and accompanied by other changes that make it difficult for him or her to cope with everyday life, the person may have Alzheimer's disease or dementia," says Daniel Kaplan, CSW, LICSW, director of social services at the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.

One should be assessed by a doctor:

  • When the person is unable to remember familiar things or people.

  • When the person is increasingly forgetful or has trouble remembering recent events.

  • When the person has trouble doing familiar things, such as cooking.

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More than 5.3 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer's disease, with a new person developing the disease every 70 seconds. Americans ages 65 and older with Alzheimer's and dementia pay three times as much in health care costs.