Almost 4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease – a brain disorder that occurs gradually and affects people as they get older.

This debilitating disease causes memory loss, changes in personality and behavior, a decline in thinking abilities, and even loss of speech and movement.

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are prescription drugs available that treat some of these symptoms.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved four prescription drugs for people with mild to moderate AD: Cognex (tacrine), Aricept (donepezil, Exelon (rivastigmine), and Reminyl (galantamine).

What Are the Symptoms of AD?

AD begins slowly. At first, the only symptom may be mild forgetfulness. People with AD may have trouble remembering recent events, activities, or the names of familiar people or things. Simple math problems may become hard for these people to solve. Such difficulties may be a bother, but usually they are not serious enough to cause alarm.

However, as the disease goes on, symptoms are more easily noticed and become serious enough to cause people with AD or their family members to seek medical help. For example, people with AD may forget how to do simple tasks, like brushing their teeth or combing their hair. They can no longer think clearly; and they begin to have problems speaking, understanding, reading, or writing. Later on, people with AD may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, patients may need total care. The course the disease takes and how fast changes occur vary from person to person. Some people only have the disease for 5 years, while others may have it for as many as 20 years.

Alzheimer’s Symptoms | Dementia Symptoms

How is AD Diagnosed?

Doctors may say that a person has “probable” AD. They will make this diagnosis by finding out more about the person’s symptoms. A doctor may require a complete medical history, some basic medical tests, neuropsychological tests, or brain scans. Doctors at specialized centers can diagnose probable AD correctly 80 to 90 percent of the time. However, diagnosis cannot be confirmed until a doctor examines a person’s brain tissue under a microscope. This tissue is obtained by autopsy after the person dies.

Symptoms of Alzheimers | Alzheimers | AD | ALZHEMED | Alsheimer |  Alheimers