WHAT IS IT?
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain. A build-up of abnormal proteins causes nerve cells to die. This disrupts the transmitters that carry messages, and causes the brain to shrink.
As brain cells die, the functions they provide are lost. That includes memory, orientation and the ability to think and reason. The progress of the disease is slow and gradual. On average, patients live five to seven years after diagnosis, but some may live for ten to 15 years.
- Loss of short-term memory
- Behavioral changes
- Mood swings
- Difficulties dealing with money
- Difficulties making a phone call
- Difficulties following a TV show
- Severe memory loss
- forgetting close family members, familiar objects or places
- Becoming anxious and frustrated over inability to make sense of the world that can lead to aggressive behaviour
- Eventually lose ability to walk
- May have problems eating and drinking
- The majority will eventually need 24-hour care
HOW ALZHEIMER'S DIFFERS FROM NORMAL MEMORY LOSS:
With ordinary age-related forgetfulness, you will still remember details associated with what you have forgotten. For example, you may forget your neighbour's name in conversation, but you still know that person is your neighbour, Alzheimer's sufferers forget the entire context.