Alzheimer’s Disease Defined
Alzheimer’s disease is a disorder characterized by a progressive loss of memory, thinking, language, and behavior. It is the most common form of dementia, or loss of brain function, and represents the sixth leading cause of death. Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal effect of aging.
The disease attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, which then break connections with other nerve cells. These nerve cells ultimately die. The disease begins with the loss of short-term memory and progresses with language and behavioral skills declining as the disease advances.
Did You Know?
In 2012, Alzheimer’s disease afflicted approximately 5.4 million people in the United States and 35.6 million people worldwide. These numbers are expected to double by 2050. [Source: Alzheimer’s Association, 2012]