Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a disease of the mind that causes major and severe problems with memory, behavior and thinking. Alzheimer’s is also considered to be the most common type of dementia. In fact, 50-80% of dementia cases are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In its later stages, Alzheimer’s disease becomes debilitating enough that it interferes with an Alzheimer’s patient’s daily life activities, requiring assisted living. And in the United States, Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death. In spite of what many people think, Alzheimer’s disease is not part of the aging process, even though many people are diagnosed over the age of 65. There is no cure at the present time for Alzheimer’s disease, but there is treatment available to patients to improve the quality of life while suffering with this disease.


Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Include:

  • Memory problems
  • Poor judgement
  • Difficulty finding the right words
  • Personality and mood changes
  • Poor judgement
  • Repeating questions asked
  • Getting lost
  • Difficulty completing normal tasks
  • Losing things and misplacing things in strange places
  • Difficulty handling money and paying one’s bills
  • An increase in memory loss and more confusion
  • Difficulty recognizing loved ones
  • The inability to learn new things
  • Problems carrying out every day tasks such as getting dressed, etc.
  • Difficulty coping with new situations
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Delusions, hallucinations and paranoia
  • The loss of communication skills
  • Weight loss
  • Skin Infections
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • An increased need for sleep.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Grunting, moaning and/or groaning

Mild Alzheimer’s Symptoms Include:

Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms Include:

Severe Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms Include:

Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease is typically made when patients are experiencing mild symptoms of Alzheimers. Doctors use several methods to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.

Methods used to diagnose Alzheimer’s include: 

  • Asking questions about over-all health.
  • Tests performed such as memory tests, attention tests, counting tests, problem solving tests, and language tests.
  • Medical tests such as blood tests and urine tests to rule out other causes of symptoms.
  • MRI or CT Scan to differentiate between other causes and Alzheimer’s disease

After diagnosis, you may be referred by your Primary Physician to see a Geriatric Specialist, a Geriatric Psychiatrist, a Neurologist and/or a Neuropsychologist. These specialists may conduct their own tests as well. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s patients allows for future planning such as making future living arrangements, taking care of any financial or legal matters and developing support networks.

Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

There are four medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s medications work to help regulate neurotransmitters to improve memory, thinking, speaking and some behavioral skills. Presently, a number of Alzheimer’s drugs, as well as other treatments are being tested by scientists who are supported by the NIA. The NIA is part of the National Institutes of Health and is the leading Federal agency providing Alzheimer’s research. Scientists hope that these new interventions could possibly prevent Alzheimer’s, reduce symptoms and/or slow the disease.