Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of mental decline or dementia.
Alzheimer's disease damages the brain. It causes a steady loss of memory and of how well you can speak, think and carry on daily activities.
It usually gets worse over time. How quickly this happens can vary. Some people lose the ability to do daily activities early on, while others may still do fairly well until much later in the disease.
Mild memory loss is common in people older than 60, but it may not mean you have Alzheimer's disease. If your memory is getting worse, see your doctor. If it is Alzheimer's, treatment may help.
We don’t fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but researchers believe a variety of genetic and other factors may play a role:
- Family history
- Certain genes
- Abnormal proteins in the brain
- Environmental factors
- Immune system issues
No single test can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, so your doctor will use a series of tests to rule out other conditions. If your doctor determines you have Alzheimer’s disease, prescribing treatments may help ease some of your symptoms.
If you have Alzheimer’s, it’s important to stay healthy. Eat well, exercise and participate in social activities. Be sure to keep up with health care appointments and to continue to manage any other health conditions you may have, such as diabetes or heart disease.