Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive, degenerative condition of the brain, in which the build-up of abnormal proteins causes nerve cells to die. This disrupts the transmitters that carry messages, and causes the brain to shrink.
As brain cells die, the functions they provide are lost. That includes memory, orientation and the ability to think and reason.
More than 5 million people suffer from the disease in the US, where it is the 6th leading cause of death, and more than 1 million people in Britain have it.
Early symptoms are:
· Loss of short-term memory
· Behavioral changes
· Mood swings
· Difficulties dealing with money or making a phone call
Later Symptoms are:
· Severe memory loss, forgetting close family members, familiar objects or places
· Becoming anxious and frustrated over inability to make sense of the world, leading to aggressive behaviour
· Eventually lose ability to walk
· May have problems eating
· The majority will eventually need 24-hour care
Source: Alzheimer's Association