Alzheimer Disease

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Alzheimer's disease
Senile dementia - Alzheimer's type (SDAT); SDAT
Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. Alzheimer's disease (AD), is one form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Causes, incidence, and risk factors

You are more likely to get Alzheimer's disease (AD) if you:
* Are older. However, developing AD is not a part of normal aging. * Have a close blood relative, such as a brother, sister, or parent with AD. * Have certain genes linked to AD, such as APOE epsilon4 allele The following may also increase your risk, although this is not well proven: * Being female

* Having high blood pressure for a long time
* History of head trauma
There are two types of AD:
* Early onset AD: Symptoms appear before age 60. This type is much less common than late onset. However, it tends to get worse quickly. Early onset disease can run in families. Several genes have been identified. * Late onset AD: This is the most common type. It occurs in people age 60 and older. It may run in some families, but the role of genes is less clear. The cause of AD is not clear. Your genes and environmental factors seem to play a role. Aluminum, lead, and mercury in the brain is no longer believed to be a cause of AD. Symptoms

Dementia symptoms include difficulty with many areas of mental function, including: * Emotional behavior or personality
* Language
* Memory
* Perception
* Thinking and judgment (cognitive skills)
Dementia usually first appears as forgetfulness.
Mild cognitive impairment is the stage between normal forgetfulness due to aging, and the development of AD. People with MCI have mild problems with thinking and memory that do not interfere with everyday activities. They are often aware of the forgetfulness. Not everyone with MCI develops AD. Symptoms of MCI include:

* Difficulty performing more than one task at a time
* Difficulty solving problems
* Forgetting recent events or conversations
* Taking longer to perform more difficult activities
The early symptoms of AD can include:
* Difficulty performing tasks that take some thought, but used to come easily, such as balancing a checkbook, playing complex games (such as bridge), and learning new information or routines * Getting lost on familiar routes

* Language problems, such as trouble finding the name of familiar objects * Losing interest in things previously enjoyed, flat mood * Misplacing items
* Personality changes and loss of social skills
As the AD becomes worse, symptoms are more obvious and interfere with your ability to take care of yourself. Symptoms can include: * Change in sleep patterns, often waking up at night
* Delusions, depression, agitation
* Difficulty doing basic tasks, such as preparing meals, choosing proper clothing, and driving * Difficulty reading or writing
* Forgetting details about current events
* Forgetting events in your own life history, losing awareness of who you are * Hallucinations, arguments, striking out, and violent behavior * Poor judgment and loss of ability to recognize danger

* Using the wrong word, mispronouncing words, speaking in confusing sentences * Withdrawing from social contact
People with severe AD can no longer:
* Understand language
* Recognize family members
* Perform basic activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, and bathing Other symptoms that may occur with AD:
* Incontinence
* Swallowing problems
Signs and tests
A skilled health care provider can often diagnose AD disease with the following steps: * Complete physical exam, including neurological exam
* Asking questions about your medical history and symptoms * A mental status examination
A diagnosis of AD is made when certain symptoms are present, and by making sure other causes of dementia are not present. Tests may...
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