Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet
Other dementias include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal disorders, and vascular dementia. It is common for people to have mixed dementia, which is a combination of two or more types of dementia.
How does Alzheimer’s disease affect the brain?
As more neurons die, more parts of the brain are affected and begin to shrink, and by the end of Alzheimer’s, damage has spread throughout the brain and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.
Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
Memory problems are one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease-related cognitive impairment, and some people with memory problems have a condition known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Researchers are looking for biomarkers to detect early changes in the brains of people with MCI and people who are cognitively normal.
Mild Alzheimer’s disease
People with Alzheimer’s disease have more memory loss and other cognitive difficulties as the disease progresses, which can include difficulties handling money and paying bills, repeating questions, and taking longer to complete normal tasks. People with Alzheimer’s disease are often diagnosed in the early stages of the disease, when memory loss is the most severe.
Moderate Alzheimer’s disease
People at this stage of development have memory loss and confusion, and they may be unable to learn new things or complete multistep tasks like getting dressed. They may also have hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia, and they may behave abnormally.
Severe Alzheimer’s disease
People with severe Alzheimer’s disease are unable to communicate and rely on others for care; near the end of life, the person may spend the majority of their time in bed as the body shuts down.
What causes Alzheimer’s disease?
Scientists are still unsure what causes Alzheimer’s disease; however, a genetic mutation may be the cause in people with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The importance of each of these factors in increasing or decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease varies from person to person.
The basics of Alzheimer’s disease
Researchers are exploring the earliest steps in the disease process, using advances in brain imaging techniques to see the development and spread of abnormal amyloid and tau proteins in the living brain. Age-related changes in the brain may harm neurons and affect other brain cells, contributing to Alzheimer’s damage.
Alzheimer’s disease genetics
Researchers have not discovered a specific gene that causes late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, but having a form of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene increases a person’s risk.
Health, environmental, and lifestyle factors
Researchers are testing some of these possibilities in clinical trials, and ongoing research will help us understand how reducing risk factors for these conditions may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. A nutritious diet, physical activity, and mentally stimulating pursuits have all been linked to helping people stay healthy, and researchers are testing some of these possibilities in clinical trials.
How is Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed?
Doctors use several methods to determine whether a person has Alzheimer’s disease, and starting treatment as soon as possible may help preserve daily functioning. An early diagnosis also helps families plan for the future. Volunteering for a clinical trial is one way to help in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
How is Alzheimer’s disease treated?
Scientists are exploring many avenues to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease as well as treat its symptoms, and precision medicine will likely play a major role in finding the right treatment for each person at the right time.
Medications to maintain mental function in Alzheimer’s disease
Donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine are medications that are used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s symptoms. They work by regulating neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. They are effective in some people but not all, and they may only help for a short time.
Medications to treat the underlying Alzheimer’s disease process
Aducanumab is the first FDA-approved disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. It reduces amyloid deposits in the brain and may help slow the disease’s progression, but it has not yet been shown to affect clinical outcomes such as cognitive decline.
Managing Alzheimer’s disease behavior
Scientists are looking into ways to manage Alzheimer’s patients’ behavioral symptoms, as treating these symptoms can make people with Alzheimer’s more comfortable and caregivers’ lives easier.
Support for families and Alzheimer’s disease caregivers
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) supports efforts to improve the care and quality of life for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Becoming well-informed about the disease is one important long-term strategy, as are good coping skills, a strong support network, and respite care.
For more information about Alzheimer’s disease
Call 800-438-4380 (toll-free) or visit www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers for information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR staff answer phone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources.
What percentage of elderly get Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 1 in every 9 people aged 65 and up (11.3%), and the percentage of people with Alzheimer’s dementia rises with age: 5.3% of people aged 65 to 74, 13.8% of people aged 75 to 84, and 34.6% of people aged 85 and up have Alzheimer’s dementia.
Will I get Alzheimer’s when I’m older?
Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging; the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. Alzheimer’s disease is called younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease if it affects someone under the age of 65.
How likely is the average person to get Alzheimer’s?
It primarily affects people over the age of 65, with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease doubling every five years. One out of every six people over the age of 80 has dementia, with many of them having Alzheimer’s disease.
What percent of 80 year olds have Alzheimer’s?
As mentioned in the Prevalence section, the percentage of people with Alzheimer’s dementia increases dramatically with age: 3% of people aged 65-74 have Alzheimer’s dementia, 17% of people aged 75-84 have Alzheimer’s dementia, and 32% of people aged 85 or older have Alzheimer’s dementia.
Can you test yourself for Alzheimer’s?
The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) is an online test developed by Ohio State University researchers that claims to detect the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The test is designed to be completed at home and then taken to a physician for a more formal evaluation.
At what age does Alzheimer’s begin?
The damage that occurs in the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s disease manifests itself in very early clinical signs and symptoms; for most people with Alzheimer’s diseaseu2014those who have the late-onset varietyu2014symptoms appear in their mid-60s, while early-onset Alzheimer’s symptoms appear between the ages of 30 and 60.
Which is worse dementia or Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, and it affects memory, language, and thought. Dementia is an umbrella term that describes symptoms that affect memory, daily activities, and communication abilities.
Who is most likely to get Alzheimer’s?
While increasing age is the most well-known risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other dementias, these disorders are not a normal part of aging. While age increases risk, it is not a direct cause of Alzheimer’s. The majority of people who develop the disease are 65 and older, and the risk of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after that.
Can you get Alzheimer’s at 13?
It’s important to note that Alzheimer’s disease does not affect children; rather, it affects people over the age of 65. Researchers have discovered medications that appear to slow the progression of the disease.
Is Alzheimer’s more common in males or females?
The main risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are age and gender; the disease is more common in women than in men, and this cannot simply be attributed to women’s longer life expectancy.
Who is the youngest person to get Alzheimer’s?
Becky Barletta, a 31-year-old ski instructor from Suffolk, England, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia about a year ago, making her one of the youngest cases of dementia doctors had seen, according to The Telegraph.
What is the most common age to get dementia?
Dementia is more common in people over 65, but it can also affect younger people, with early onset of the disease occurring in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.
What percentage of people over the age of 80 have dementia?
In 2015, about 5% of adults aged 70 to 79 had probable dementia, compared to 16% of adults aged 80 to 89 and 31% of adults aged 90 and older. As the United States’ population ages, the number of people with dementia is expected to rise dramatically. Women are slightly more likely than men to develop dementia.
What percentage of people over 90 have Alzheimers?
Alzheimer’s disease accounted for a growing percentage of dementia cases as people got older, reaching 79.5 percent in the 90s compared to 46.7 percent in the 70s.