Alzheimer’s disease is part of a group of diseases, which are known as ‘dementia’, and is the most common type type of dementia. It’s named Alzheimer’s disease after the person who discovered it, while other types of dementia are often named after the problem that causes them (for example, vascular dementia is caused by problems with blood flow tot the brain,and Lewy Body dementia is identifiable by the formation of little packets of protein, known as lewy bodies, in cells in the brain).
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, affects some people as they get older, specifically affecting the brain. People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may experience lapses of memory and have problems finding the right words to use. The disease gets worse as patients continue to age; some later symptoms include:
* becoming confused and frequently forgetting things like the names of people or places, or forgetting recent events.
* experiencing mood swings for little or no reason, feel sad or angry with no real reason, or scared and frustrated by their increasing memory loss
* becoming more withdrawn, due either to a loss of confidence or to communication problems
* having difficulty carrying out everyday activities – they may get muddled checking their change at the shops or become unsure how to work the TV remote.
As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer’s will need more support from those who care for them. Eventually, they will need help with all their daily activities. It’s a really hard disease to deal with, both for the patient and for people who are close to them, and a lot of scientists are working very hard to find a cure!