Alzheimer's Disease

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What Is Alzheimer's Disease? Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder that leads to impairments in memory, thinking and reasoning. It is a late-life illness that causes a form of brain failure. It produces confused thinking, impairs judgment, changes personality, alters behavior. The illness is progressive and ultimately results in death. While it cannot be cured, it can be treated. During the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease, many people are aware that their memory is failing. The progression of Alzheimer's disease may last up to 20 years in some individuals. People in the final stages require 24-hour care, as they become completely dependent for even the most basic activities such as eating, bathing, and using the bathroom. Near the end, patients become bed-bound and mute. The third stage covers the period from the onset of total care to death; it usually lasts one to three years. At this stage, most people are in a nursing home. They have usually lost all concepts of past and future. They may not recognize family members though they usually are aware that they are friendly people who care for them. They lose all bowel and bladder control and toward the latter part of this stage lose the ability to walk. Near the end, they lose the ability to speak and to swallow and may refuse to take food or liquid by mouth. Death intervenes at this point. Diagnosis People who are worried about memory problems shoul...

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