Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and causes difficulty with memory, thinking and behavior. I won’t attempt to rehash all of the information available elsewhere, but I will provide a few bits of information (source – Alzheimer’s Association), then I’ll point you to some excellent resources. (And if you have any additional resources to recommend, please do contact me so I can add them).
- What’s the cause? There are two abnormal structures that are the prime suspects in damaging and killing nerve cells.
- Plaques are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid that build up in the spaces between nerve cells.
- Tangles are twisted fibers of another protein called tau (rhymes with “wow”) that build up inside cells.
- Is there a cure? No, but treatments for symptoms are available, although these treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing. However they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
- How common is Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
- How many people have Alzheimer’s? More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s
- More than 15.5 million Americans are caregivers
- Alzheimer’s kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined
Alzheimer’s disease is a scary illness, but if you or a family member has developed this illness, please know you are not alone. Ask for help; ask for support. You’ll be glad you did.