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Alzheimer's (AHLZ-high-merz) is a disease of the brain that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is not a normal part of aging.
Is the most common form of dementia
Dementia is a general term for the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
Is more common than you think
It is estimated that as many as 5.4 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer's. In 2050, the number of people in the United States with Alzheimer's could reach 11-16 million.
Because 70 percent of the people with Alzheimer's live at home, the disease impacts millions of family members, friends and caregivers.
Gets worse over time
Alzheimer's gets worse over time and ultimately is fatal. Although symptoms can vary widely, the first problem many people notice is forgetfulness severe enough to affect their ability to function at home or at work or to enjoy lifelong hobbies.
Other symptoms include confusion, getting lost in familiar places, misplacing things, and problems with speaking and writing.
Cognitive decline is a pressing global health care issue. Worldwide, one case of dementia is detected every seven seconds. Mild cognitive impairment is a well recognized risk factor for dementia, and represents a critical window of opportunity for intervening and altering the trajectory of cognitive decline in seniors
One recent line of research suggests that frequent stress may even boost the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. A new study headed by scientists at the University of California at San Diego showed that repeated stress triggered brain changes in mice that were similar to the abnormal clumps of protein seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The changes were most pronounced in the hippocampus. In humans, this part of the brain plays a key role in memory and is hard hit by Alzheimer’s disease.