The term ‘Alzheimer’ is often confused with dementia and most people use these two terms interchangeably. However, Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia. Many people get some form of dementia when they get older, but not everyone has Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a mutation in the brain and it’s degenerative in nature, meaning that the illness gets worse over time. Researchers think that proteins called plaques and tangles are deposited in the brain, restricting communication between nerve cells. This restriction will eventually lead to memory loss and forgetfulness. There’s no scientific proof that these proteins actually cause Alzheimer’s, but these proteins together with high blood pressure and a high cholesterol level do increase the risk of developing the disease. Researchers still haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact cause.
Probably the most common symptom of early onset Alzheimer’s is forgetfulness. This is also one of the more noticeable symptoms. People with Alzheimer’s disease will have trouble processing new information and they will experience memory loss. Symptoms may also include having trouble reading, speaking, writing and doing simple maths.
Besides memory loss, there are a few other symptoms that can denote Alzheimer’s disease. Read more about these symptoms on the next page.