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Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia Dementia is the loss of intellectual and social abilities severe enough to interfere with daily functioning It occurs in people with Alzheimers disease because healthy brain tissue degenerates causing a decline in memory and mental abilities More than 4 million Americans have Alzheimers It usually develops in those ages 65 or older This number is expected to triple in the next 20 years as more people live into their 80s and 90s Although theres no cure or way to prevent Alzheimers disease researchers have made progress in the last 5 years Treatments are available that help improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimers Also more drugs are being studied and scientists have discovered several genes associated with Alzheimers which may lead to new treatments to block progression of this disease Caring for someone with Alzheimers takes patience and a focus on the things a person can still do and enjoy Those with Alzheimers need support and affection from friends and family to cope Most people with Alzheimers share certain symptoms that include increasing forgetfulness difficulties with abstract thinking difficulty finding the right words disorientation loss of judgment difficulty performing familiar tasks and personality changes Everyone has occasional lapses in memory Its normal to forget the names of people whom you rarely see but its not a normal part of aging to forget the names of familiar people and things Alzheimers disease goes beyond simple forgetfulness It may start with slight memory loss and confusion but it eventually leads to mental impairment that destroys a persons ability to remember reason learn and imagine The course the disease takes and how rapidly changes occur vary from person to person For some people the progression from simple forgetfulness to severe dementia takes 5 years For others it can take 10 years or more Alzheimers usually progresses from mild to moderate to severe People with mild
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