It is the most common form of loss of memory and cognitive abilities generally known as dementia.
Dr. Alzheimer did an autopsy in 1906 on the brain of a woman who died after exhibiting language problems, unpredictable behavior, and memory loss. He discovered the amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which are considered the hallmarks of the disease, CNN reports.
The disease is slow-moving that starts with memory loss and terminates with severe brain damage. It has no cure and is fatal.
According to scientists, Alzheimer’s disease likely develops from multiple factors – genetics, lifestyle, and environment. They believe it is not caused by a single factor.
They have identified factors that increase the risk of the disease, some of these are — age, family history, and heredity — which can’t be changed. Recent evidence suggests there may be other factors – head trauma – that can be changed.
Aging is the greatest risk factor for this disease and other dementias. After the age of 65, the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease double every five years and gets to nearly one-third after the age of 85. For most people, symptoms first appear after the age of 60.
Early-onset Alzheimer’s is an uncommon form of dementia that strikes people younger than age 65. This often runs in families.
Family history is another factor in an individual developing the disease. Those who have a family member – a parent, brother, or sister – with Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop the disease.
This risk increases if more than one family member has the illness.
Repeated head trauma has been linked to the disease
Conditions that damage the heart – high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, and diabetes – increase the chance of vascular dementia.
The possible symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:
Repeating questions and statements
Mood and personality changes
Delusions and paranoia