Alzheimer disease is a disorder of the brain. It leads to a loss of the ability to think, reason, and remember. Symptoms can change from day to day, but over time the disease worsens. Alzheimer dementia is when a person is no longer able to care for him or herself.
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The cause is not clear. Brain cells stop working and begin to die. It may be due to a mix of genes, environment, and overall health.
Two known things that play a role are:
These changes often begin in areas of the brain that store memory. This damage may start several years before the first symptoms appear.
Alzheimer dementia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/alzheimer-dementia. Updated August 9, 2019. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Alzheimer's disease medications fact sheet. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-medications-fact-sheet. Updated April 2, 2018. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Atri A. The Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Spectrum: Diagnosis and Management. Med Clin North Am. 2019 Mar;103(2):263-293.
What is Alzheimer's? Alzheimer’s Association website. Available at: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD Last Updated: 12/15/2020