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Alzheimer’s Disease

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia itself is not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. Though dementia and Alzheimer’s disease mostly affect older adults, they are not a part of normal aging. Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease.

Common signs of Alzheimer’s disease

Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs of cognitive loss. According to the National Institute on Aging, in addition to memory problems, someone with Alzheimer’s disease may experience one or more of the following signs:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as getting lost in a familiar place or repeating questions.
  • Trouble handling money and paying bills.
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
  • Decreased or poor judgment.
  • Misplaces things and being unable to retrace steps to find them.
  • Changes in mood, personality, or behavioral.

If you or someone you know has several or even most of the signs listed above, it does not mean that you or they have Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to consult a health care provider when you or someone you know has concerns about memory loss, thinking skills, or behavioral changes.

Some causes for symptoms, such as depression and drug interactions, are reversible. However, they can be serious and should be identified and treated by a health care provider as soon as possible. Early and accurate diagnosis provides opportunities for you and your family to consider or review financial planning, develop advance directives, enroll in clinical trials, and anticipate care needs.

How is Alzheimer’s disease treated?

There is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but medical management can improve the quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Treatment addresses several different areas:

  • Helping people maintain mental function.
  • Managing behavioral symptoms.
  • Slowing or delaying the symptoms of the disease.

If you have concerns about your memory, talk to your Mercyhealth doctor.

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