What is Alzheimer's disease?
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. Currently, there is no cure available for the disease. Alzheimer's disease progresses over time, eventually leading to death. It was first described by the German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was named after him.
Most often, Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age. It is estimated that app. 35 million are suffering from Alzheimer's disease worldwide. By 2050 it is predicted that 1 in 85 people globally has Alzheimer's disease. Although Alzheimer's disease develops differently for every individual, there are many common symptoms. In the early stages of Alzheimer's, the most common symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events and can be difficult to differentiate from normal aging. When the disease is suspected, the diagnosis is usually confirmed with tests that evaluate behavior and thinking abilities, often followed by a brain scan. The symptoms of more advanced Alzheimer's disease can include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, trouble with language and long-term memory loss.
Current research in to Alzheimer's disease and other dementias is now moving towards identifying risk factors very early on in these diseases and trying to find out if altering these risks before major symptoms appear will modify or eliminate the disease itself.
Such studies are already taking place in the general 'well' population and those with the very minor memory problems that are common as we get older.
What causes Alzheimer's disease?
The cause of Alzheimer's disease is not fully known. Current treatments only help with the symptoms of the disease. There are currently no available treatments that can reverse the progression of more advanced stages of the disease. However, there is ongoing research to find cure for those affected. In addition, there is intensified research to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease
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