Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disease and is the most common form of dementia, a general term used for memory loss and the decline in intellectual and physical abilities. It most commonly is diagnosed in the elderly although there are cases of the disease occurring in people of middle age. There is no known single cause for Alzheimer's although scientists believe that it occurs due to the chemical and structural changes in the brain which gradually destroy brain cells thus effecting memory, reasoning, learning and eventually body system failure.
This disease affects the body in different stages. In the first stages, family and friends might notice moderate changes in mood, behavior and communication patterns. Common signs of the first stage include forgetting where things are, forgetting recent events and social withdrawal. During the middle stages of Alzheimer's, the main sign is the need for assistance with most daily living tasks. A person in this stage has decreased judgment and skills in regards to their personal care. Their memory becomes worse and although they can recall their own name they still have trouble remembering key family members and easily become disoriented on the time and place. The main symptom of the late stages of Alzheimer's is personality and severe behavior changes. Memory is continuing to decline and a person in this stage often has trouble remembering who their spouse and children are. Sundowning, which is when a person becomes restless and agitated in the late afternoon, is a common sign of the late stages. Almost all daily tasks are needed with assistance. The final stage of Alzheimer's occurs when a person can no longer respond to their environment. Their communication is extremely limited as well as their basic functions begin to shut down such as motor coordination and swallowing. Total care is required around the clock during the final stage. The progression of each stage is...
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