Alzheimer's Disease Warning
is the term used to describe a dementing disorder marked by certain brain
changes, regardless of the age of onset. Dementia is a condition resulting in significant loss of intellectual
abilities such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with social or
occupational functioning. Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging, it
is not something that inevitably happens in later life. Rather, it is one of the
dementing disorders, a group of brain diseases that lead to the loss of mental
and physical functions. The disorder, whose cause is unknown, affects a small
but significant percentage of older Americans.
The Alzheimer's Association
has developed the following list of warning
signs that include common symptoms of AD. Individuals who exhibit several of
these symptoms should see a physician for a complete evaluation.
- Memory loss that affects job skills
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems with language
- Disorientation to time and place
- Poor or decreased judgment
- Problems with abstract thinking
- Misplacing things
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Changes in personality
- Loss of initiative
Alzheimer's Disease At A Glance
- Alzheimer's disease is a brain disease of unknown cause
that leads to dementia.
- Most patients with Alzheimer's disease are over 65
years of age.
- There are 10 classic warning signs of Alzheimer's disease: memory loss that affects job skills,
difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with language, disorientation to time and place, poor or decreased judgment, problems with abstract thinking, misplacing things, changes in mood or behavior, changes in personality, and loss of initiative.
- Patients with symptoms of dementia should be
thoroughly evaluated before they become inappropriately or negligently labeled
- Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease,
available to alleviate many of the symptoms that cause
- The management of AD consists of medication-based and non-medication based
treatments organized to care for the patient and family. Treatments aimed at changing the underlying course of the disease
(delaying or reversing the progression) have so far been largely unsuccessful.
Medicines that restore the defect, or malfunctioning, in the chemical
messengers of the nerve cells have been shown to improve symptoms. Finally, medications are available that
deal with the psychiatric manifestations of AD.
For additional information, please read the Alzheimer's Disease
articles.Last Editorial Review: 7/7/2004