Alzheimer’s Frequently Asked Questions

What is Alzheimer’s disease (AD)?

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia is older adults. It is progressively degenerative and involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. The words “Alzheimer’s” and “dementia” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same.

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

People with AD generally experience a progression of symptoms, including forgetting how to do simple tasks, problems recognizing familiar people or places, and difficulty speaking and thinking clearly. People with advanced AD may become anxious or aggressive and are often unable to care for themselves.

How many people have Alzheimer’s disease?

It’s estimated that 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and this number will grow to 7.1 million by 2025. Of those with Alzheimer’s today, 5.1 million people are age 65 and older, and approximately 200,000 are under age 65 (younger-onset Alzheimer’s).

How long can a person live with Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, in which dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. Those with AD live an average of 8 years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from 4 to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

Do men or women have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?

While neither gender has a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, more women than men have AD—almost two thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women. This may be attributed to the fact that women typically live longer than men, and the chances of developing Alzheimer’s increases with age.

Is there a genetic link associated with Alzheimer’s disease?

Recent research has shown links between some genes and AD, but in about 90% of cases, there is no clear genetic link.

How is Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed?

Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed through a complete medical assessment. There is no single test that can show whether a person has Alzheimer’s, although many physicians can determine with very high probability that a person has dementia.

What are the treatments for Alzheimer’s disease?

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. But drug and non-drug treatments may help with both cognitive and behavioral symptoms. Researchers are looking for new treatments to alter the course of the disease and improve the quality of life for people with dementia.

Sources:
The Alzheimer’s Association® (www.alz.org)
Family Caregiver Alliance (caregiver.org)
Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (www.alzinfo.org)

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