Alzheimer's disease is a group disorders involving the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. It is marked by progressive deterioration, which affects both the memory and reasoning capabilities of an individual. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia (mental deterioration of memory and thought processes) among the elderly. It is estimated that 4.5 million Americans over the age of 65 are affected with this condition. After the age of 65, the incidence of the disease doubles every five years and, by age 85, it will affect nearly half of the population.
Alzheimer's disease was firs 4148938 described in 1906 by German neurologist Alois Alzheimer. The disease causes irreversible changes in the nerve cells of certain vulnerable areas of the brain. It is characterized by nerve-cell loss, abnormal tangles within nerve cells and deficiencies of several chemicals, which are essential for the transmission of nerve messages.
The disorder leads to behavioral and personality changes, forgetfulness, confusion, inability to learn new material, paranoia and motor activity problems. Language difficulties also are common in people with Alzheimer's disease. The disease typically progresses to the stage where it is difficult for the patient to be understood by others or to understand others, and in the final stages, the patient is bedridden. Although nearly half of those over 85 may have Alzheimer's disease, it is not a 'normal' part of aging. Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset, also known as younger onset, which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s. Females are slightly more likely than males to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals with Down’s syndrome are more likely to develop the disease than the general population. Alzheimer’s attacks every socioeconomic and ethnic group.
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