Alzheimer's Disease FAQs

Alzheimer's Disease FAQs

Take the Alzheimer's Disease Quiz First! Before reading this FAQ, challenge yourself and Test your Knowledge!

Q:What are symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?

A:One of the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss.

Other early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include difficulty finding the right words, repeating questions, poor judgment, getting lost, losing things, difficulty handling money, taking longer to complete routine tasks, mood swings, and personality changes.

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Q:All cases of Alzheimer's disease worsen over time. True or False?

A:True.

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive illness, meaning it worsens over time. Symptoms such as memory loss and other cognitive problems become more pronounced. Alzheimer's affects the brain and impairs memory and thinking abilities to the point where patients can no longer carry out daily tasks.

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Q:Alzheimer's disease is a normal part of aging. True or False?

A:False.

Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging. It is, however, more commonly seen among people over the age of 60, and the risk for developing the disease increases with age. An estimated 5.1 million people in the U.S. are thought to have Alzheimer's disease.

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Q:Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia. True or False?

A:True.

Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia, which is a term used to describe a range of symptoms that affect a person's memory, thinking, and reasoning to the point they interfere with daily tasks. Alzheimer's disease accounts for up to 80% of cases of dementia. In mild dementia, the loss of cognitive skills only slightly affects a person's daily life, while in severe dementia a person is no longer able to function independently and becomes totally reliant on others for care.

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Q:Alzheimer's disease can resemble Parkinson's disease. True or False?

A:True.

The early stages of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease are similar, in that both present with symptoms of dementia. Many people with Parkinson's disease and a type of dementia called Lewy body disease also have brain changes (plaques and tangles) that are also found in Alzheimer's disease.

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Q:Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed by a blood test. True or False?

A:False.

Alzheimer's disease cannot be diagnosed with a blood test, or any one single test. However, blood tests, urine tests, and imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography (PET) may be performed to rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms.

The diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is often made by a thorough medical history, along with tests on memory, language, problem solving, counting, and attention. These tests are often repeated so doctors can see any changes that happen over time.

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Q:A definite diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease may be made only after the death of the patient. True or False?

A:True.

The only time a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can be made is after the death of the patient. During an autopsy, a pathologist will examine the patient's brain tissue to determine if the hallmark brain changes of Alzheimer's were present.

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Q:Alzheimer's disease can be cured if detected early. True or False?

A:False.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, but there are treatments available that can help maintain mental functions for a longer time, slow the progression of symptoms, and manage the behavioral symptoms.

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Q:Alzheimer's disease is considered a terminal illness. True or False?

A:True.

Alzheimer's disease is a terminal illness because it cannot be cured or treated. Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disease, and while memory and cognitive functions deteriorate first, eventually the patient's body can no longer perform basic life functions such as breathing and swallowing.

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Q:Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. True or False?

A:True.

Advancing age is the biggest risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease. It is unknown why this is the case, but most people who have the disease are over age 65. The risk of developing the disease doubles every five years after age 65. By the time a person reaches 80 years of age, the risk of having Alzheimer's is almost 50 percent.

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Q:Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. True or False?

A:True.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Alzheimer's disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S., and among adults aged 65-85 years it is the 5th leading cause of death.

The Alzheimer's Association estimates more than 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease; 5.2 million of those are age 65 and older. The disease is projected to affect as many as 13.8 million people by 2050.

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