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Alzheimer's Disease: From Symptoms to Treatments

Detailed information on Alzheimer's Disease- symptoms, causes, treatments, medications, and alternative treatments for Alzheimer's.

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive, degenerative brain disease that results in impaired memory, thinking, and behavior. It is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly and affects at least three to four million people in the United States. People with AD experience gradual memory loss as well as impaired judgment, difficulty concentrating, loss of language skills, personality changes, and a decline in the ability to learn new tasks. Memory loss usually begins at about age 65 and symptoms tend to become severe within 8 to 10 years. In some cases, symptoms may appear earlier in life and advance at a faster or slower rate, but most people who develop symptoms before the age of 60 tend to have more severe forms of the disease. Currently, there is no cure for AD, but studies suggest that medications, herbs and supplements, and lifestyle adjustments may all help to slow the progression and improve the symptoms of the disease.

Alzheimer's Signs and Symptoms

The early symptoms of Alzheimer's are occasionally overlooked because they resemble signs that many people attribute to "natural aging." The following are the most common signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's Psychological Symptoms

  • Memory loss, including not recognizing friends and family members
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty comprehending words, completing sentences, or finding the right words
  • Loss of familiarity with surroundings, wandering aimlessly
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis
  • Aggression, agitation, anxiety, restlessness
  • Accusatory behaviors (such as accusations of spousal infidelity)
  • Withdrawal, disinterest, hostility, loss of inhibitions

Alzheimer's Physical Symptoms

    • Impaired movement or coordination
    • Muscle rigidity, shuffling or dragging feet while walking
    • Insomnia or disturbances in sleep patterns
    • Weight loss
    • Incontinence
    • Muscle twitching or seizures

 

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next: Causes of Alzheimer's Disease

Last Updated: 25 February 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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