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Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is often                            Being of African-American or                          Stay socially active.
                                                         Latino descent                                        Avoid tobacco and excessive
difficult to distinguish because the
early signs of it closely resemble                    Symptoms                                                 Exercise.
                                                      Typically, the first indication of                       Stimulate the brain every so
the natural signs of aging.
                                                      Alzheimer’s is memory loss                                often, such as with logic or
                                                      serious enough that it affects the                        word puzzles.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
                                                      ability to function. Other
Alzheimer’s is a disease of the
                                                      symptoms include:                                      Support
brain that gradually destroys the
                                                        Confusion                                           Alzheimer’s disease is devastating
ability to remember, reason,
                                                        Getting lost/being disoriented                      for both the patient and his or her
imagine, and learn. This gets
                                                        Personality changes                                 loved ones. It can be especially
worse over time.
                                                        Losing things                                       difficult for the primary caretaker,
There are 100 billion nerve cells                       Trouble with language                               so it is important to have a
in the brain. Each of these cells                       Poor judgment                                       network of family and friends to
joins with others to form                                                                                    lend a hand.
“communication networks.”                             Diagnosis and Treatment
Alzheimer’s disease prevents                          The first step is to take the
some of these cells from                              person you are concerned about
operating correctly, although                         to a physician. There is no specific
scientists are unsure why. As the                     type of doctor for this disease,
damage spreads, the cells cannot                      but in some cases you may be
function and eventually die.                          referred to a specialist such as a
                                                      neurologist or psychologist. Your
During normal aging, most                             local Alzheimer’s Association
people’s brains develop what are                      chapter can assist locating the
known as plaques (deposits of a                       proper physician.
protein fragment) and tangles
(fibers of another protein.) It has                   At the doctor’s office, the patient
been discovered during autopsy                        will undergo a physical exam,
that people suffering from                            diagnostic testing and a
Alzheimer’s have a lot more                           neurological exam. If diagnosed
plaques and tangles than others.                      with Alzheimer’s, the patient will
Scientists believe that these may                     likely be prescribed a
play a role in blocking nerve cell                    cholinesterase inhibitor and/or
communication.                                        memantine. Taking vitamin E may
                                                      also be recommended.
Risk Factors
Just like any other disease, there                    Prevention
are certain traits or behaviors                       Research has uncovered that by
that make some people more                            keeping the brain healthy, it may
likely than others to get                             be possible to avoid Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease. Some risk                        Living an overall healthy lifestyle
factors are:                                          is a critical factor:
   Increasing age                                      Eat a healthy diet.
   Family history and genetics
 This brochure is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional.
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