Alzheimer's disease

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Concept.png Alzheimer's disease 
(disease,  death cause)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Alzheimers brain.jpg
A neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and progressively worsens

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and progressively worsens.[1] It is the cause of 60–70% of cases of dementia.[1] The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events.[2] As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation (including easily getting lost), mood swings, loss of motivation, self-neglect, and behavioral issues.[2][1] As a person's condition declines, they often withdraw from family and society.[2] Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death.[3] Although the speed of progression can vary, the typical life expectancy following diagnosis is three to nine years.[4]

The cause of Alzheimer's disease is poorly understood.[2] There are many environmental and genetic risk factors associated with its development. The strongest genetic risk factor is from an allele of APOE.[5] Other risk factors include a history of head injury, clinical depression, and high blood pressure.[2] The disease process is largely associated with amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and loss of neuronal connections in the brain.[3] A probable diagnosis is based on the history of the illness and cognitive testing with medical imaging and blood tests to rule out other possible causes.[6] Initial symptoms are often mistaken for normal aging.[2] Examination of brain tissue is needed for a definite diagnosis, but this can only take place after death.[3] Good nutrition, physical activity, and engaging socially are known to be of benefit generally in aging, and these may help in reducing the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's; in 2019 clinical trials were underway to look at these possibilities.[3] There are no medications or supplements that have been shown to decrease risk.

No treatments stop or reverse its progression, though some may temporarily improve symptoms.[1] Affected people increasingly rely on others for assistance, often placing a burden on the caregiver.[7] The pressures can include social, psychological, physical, and economic elements.[7] Exercise programs may be beneficial with respect to activities of daily living and can potentially improve outcomes.[8] Behavioral problems or psychosis due to dementia are often treated with antipsychotics, but this is not usually recommended, as there is little benefit and an increased risk of early death.[9][10]

As of 2015, there were approximately 29.8 million people worldwide with AD[11] with about 50 million of all forms of dementia as of 2020.[1] It most often begins in people over 65 years of age, although up to 10 per cent of cases are early-onset affecting those in their 30's to mid 60's.[3] Women get sick more often than men.[12] It affects about 6% of people 65 years and older.[2] In 2015, all forms of dementia resulted in about 1.9 million deaths.[13]


A Alzheimer's disease victim on Wikispooks

TitleDeath dateLocation of DeathDescription
Kaúlza de Arriaga2 February 2004LisbonPortuguese soldier politician who attended a November 1977 meeting of Le Cercle with his aide
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