Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60% to 80% of all cases. Some people may develop early-onset Alzheimer's, with roughly 5% of these cases occurring in a person's 40s and 50s.
Medically-speaking, individuals with Alzheimer's disease develop clumps of the beta-amyloid protein (known as plaques) and fibrous tangles of the tau protein (known as tangles) in their brains.
As more and more of these plaques and tangles form during this brain disorder, they may damage healthy neurons and their connections, leading to common Alzheimer's disease symptoms.
Researchers believe there isn't a single cause of Alzheimer's disease. It likely develops from multiple factors, such as genetics, lifestyle and environment…. While some risk factors — age, family history and heredity — can't be changed, emerging evidence suggests there may be other factors we can influence (alz.org).
As Alzheimer's progresses, people are more likely to experience confusion and changes in their mood. Mobility issues, like trouble walking, are also likely to occur, along with speech problems.
Early symptoms can include:
- Forgetting names and events
- A decline in personal hygiene and self-care
Alzheimer's is broken down into seven stages of progression, with symptoms initially appearing around Stage Two. During Stage Four, these symptoms become more apparent and diagnosable. The progression continues and worsens up to Stage Seven when people with Alzheimer's typically require consistent health care.