Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive brain disorder that gradually impairs a person’s memory and mental functioning. This can have major effects on a person’s ability to reason, learn new things, remember and communicate. Alzheimer’s disease can also change a person’s behaviour and demeanor. People who have Alzheimer’s disease may become more easily agitated, have increased anxiety or may even become delusional. It is the most common form of dementia which is a general term for impaired brain functioning. Alzheimer's disease is quite common especially in the elderly. The disease can span for just a few years or as long as twenty years.
Although experts are not positive on how exactly Alzheimer’s disease develops, there is evidence that it is linked to the deposit of beta-amyloid protein plaques (which are abnormal patches of material) in the brain. It still remains unclear if the plaques are a cause or the result of Alzheimer’s disease.
The most common risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease is age. After the age of 65, the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease doubles every 5 years and after the age of 85 it is almost 50%. There also seems to be a strong genetic link, as Alzheimer’s disease appears to run in families. Two genes are currently linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and researchers suspect that there are more that contribute. Those who have suffered head trauma also seem to have a greater risk for developing the disease. Conditions related to the heart and blood vessels also see to increase one’s susceptibility of developing dementia.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are therapies that can help to slow down the process. These treatments can help slow down the loss of brain cells, control symptoms and allow the patient to stay independent longer. By simplifying one’s living space or daily tasks, Alzheimer’s patients can feel more in control of their life. There are also a variety of medications used to help treat those with Alzheimer’s disease including Cholinesterase inhibitors, Moderate-Affinity NMDA-Receptor Antagonist and Vitamin E.