Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease: The Basics
Alzheimer’s Disease is a horrible condition that can strike at the brain of your loved ones and steal their memories and lives. But what is Alzheimer’s Disease? What’s going on in the brain? Is Alzheimer’s just a normal part of aging?
Alzheimer’s Disease, or AD, is what’s known as a neurodegenerative disorder, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Any condition that causes the loss of function or death of neurons. Because we don’t grow many new neurons as adults, neurodegenerative conditions are usually very serious, and generally fatal. Alzheimer’s Disease is no exception.
The average life expectancy after an AD diagnosis is only about 4-8 years. Part of the reason some people believe that Alzheimer’s Disease is a “normal” part of aging is probably because it’s strongly correlated with getting older.
Worldwide, Alzheimer’s is one of the most common forms of dementia. It is a progressive form of dementia that starts with mild memory loss, as the disease progresses communication skills and the ability to manage daily life are lost. Alzheimer’s affects the areas of the brain that control memory, thought, and language.
The condition affects 1 in 10 people over the age of 65. But it can sometimes strike at a younger age and has been diagnosed in some people in their 20’s.
While all Alzheimer’s Disease patients end up with what we call dementia, not all kinds of dementia are a result of Alzheimer’s Disease. Dementia just refers to the loss of memory and cognitive abilities that accompany the neurodegeneration…