Common symptoms of Alzheimer's may include:
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment
- Deterioration of language skills
- Impaired ability to understand visual information
- Mood swings
Eventually, the disease destroys a person's ability to think, process information, and function.
It is important to note that early signs of Alzheimer's disease, which include forgetfulness and loss of concentration, are often missed because they closely resemble the natural signs of aging.
Scientists believe that up to 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's usually begins after age 60 and the risk of developing this condition increases with age. For example, about 5 percent of men and women ages 65 to 74 have Alzheimer's disease, and nearly half of those who are over 85 years of age may have the disease. However, it is important to note that Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging.
While younger people may also get Alzheimer's disease, this is much less common.
Alzheimer's disease is a condition that progresses slowly. It starts with mild memory problems and eventually leads to severe brain damage. The course of this disease can vary widely from one person to the next. On average, patients with Alzheimer's disease continue to live for 8 to 10 years after they are diagnosed, though some people live for as many as 20 years after their diagnosis.