Alzheimer’s disease is the leading form of dementia. Each year, 1 in 3 seniors in the United States dies from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. It causes brain cells to break down and die, making it hard for someone to perform daily tasks or care for themselves.
Researchers are working to find the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and ways to manage or even cure it. Age is the greatest risk factor for developing the disease. People over age 65 have a much higher chance of developing dementia. Younger people are sometimes diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. A family history of the disease may increase your risk for some forms of dementia.
Importance of Early Diagnosis
Treatments are available to ease Alzheimer’s symptoms and improve quality of life in some people, but there is no cure for the disease. Available treatments are more effective in the early stages of the disease. That makes early detection is important.
Alzheimer’s is hard to recognize and diagnose. Early symptoms can mimic other illnesses or normal changes in brain function. If your loved one shows signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia, take them to their primary care doctor for evaluation. Testing can help rule out other issues.
Physical, neurological, and mental evaluations help decide if someone has the disease. New diagnostic tests have improved the accuracy of diagnosing Alzheimer’s.
While no cure exists for Alzheimer’s, research is ongoing to find better ways to treat and even cure the disease. For more information on this topic, visit the University of Pittsburgh’s Alzheimer Disease Research Center or Education and Consultative Services of UPMC Senior Services.
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