Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss and cognitive decline. A neurodegenerative type of dementia, the disease starts mild and gets progressively worse.
Dementia is a syndrome (a group of symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline in mental abilities and Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. While the exact cause is unknown, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease may be increased by:
- Increasing age
- A family history of the condition
- Previous severe head injuries
- Lifestyle factors and conditions associated with vascular disease.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s you may have noticed in either a family member, friend or even yourself:
- Speech problems such as difficulty finding the right words
- Difficulty in understanding what people are saying
- Personality and mood changes
- Difficulty with performing everyday routine activities.
There is no single test that can be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. If your doctor suspects you, a family member or friend may have Alzheimer’s disease they may refer you to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis.
Although Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of ageing, it is more common in older people and affect people from African and Caribbean origin at least a decade earlier than older white people.