Alzheimer’s DiseaseDefinition Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 5.5 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s (National Institutes of Aging, 2016). This Photoby Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC
Dementia Alterationsis the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage,when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living (National Institutes of Aging, 2016). The causes of dementia can vary, depending on the types of brain changes that may be taking place. Other dementias include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal disorders, and vascular dementia. It is common for people to have mixed dementia—a combination of two or more disorders, at least one of which is dementia. For example, some people have both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia(National Institutes of Aging, 2016).
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’sChanges affecting Body Systems Short term Memory Loss Progress to total cognitive and executive functions ForgetfulnessEmotional upset