What Are The Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease
Early on, Alzheimers disease may be hard to notice. The first signs are usually memory loss and difficulty finding the right words for everyday things. However, many people have trouble with memory but dont have Alzheimers so its important to visit a doctor to work out the exact cause of memory problems.
Other common symptoms of Alzheimers disease include:
- vagueness in daily conversation
Alzheimers disease is sometimes classified into 3 stages, based on the severity of symptoms:
Symptoms will progress differently between people, depending on what areas of the brain are affected. A persons symptoms may also change from day to day and can become worse with stress, illness or tiredness.
Strategy 2e: Explore The Effectiveness Of New Models Of Care For People With Ad
The Affordable Care Act created the CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation which is charged with testing innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce expenditures in Medicare and Medicaid while maintaining or enhancing the quality of care received by program beneficiaries. While these studies are not designed to focus on people with AD in particular, a number of the initiatives underway at CMMI may provide information relevant to the care for people with Alzheimer’s disease. The Secretary can expand the duration and scope of care models that are shown to reduce spending and improve quality, including implementing them at a national level. Through the actions below, HHS will leverage the efforts that are already underway at CMMI as potential new AD-specific initiatives are identified.
Action 2.E.1: Evaluate the effectiveness of medical home models for people with AD
Medical homes utilize a team approach to provide care and to improve the quality and coordination of health care services. CMMI is currently carrying out the Multi-payer Advanced Primary Care Practice Demonstration and the Comprehensive Primary Care initiative to measure the effectiveness of medical home models. CMMI will conduct subgroup analyses to examine changes in care quality and care coordination among people with AD to explore whether these models lead to more effective and efficient care.
Action 2.E.2: Evaluate the effectiveness of the Independence at Home Demonstration
Can You Prevent Alzheimers Disease
There is no sure way to prevent Alzheimers disease. However, you can reduce the risk of Alzheimers disease by caring for your health:
- your heart whats good for your heart is good for your brain so stick to a healthy diet and dont smoke
- your body regular physical activity increases blood flow to the brain so maintain an active lifestyle
- your mind an active mind helps build brain cells and strengthens their connections so socialise, do things such as puzzles and crosswords, and learn new things, such as a language
Learn more about the risk factors associated with Alzheimers and other types of dementia, and what you can do to reduce your risk:
Read the related video transcript.
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Taking Immediate Action To Fight Alzheimer’s Disease
Building on the preliminary work on this plan, on February 7, 2012, the Obama Administration announced a historic $156 million investment to tackle Alzheimer’s disease.
This investment includes:
Immediately increasing Alzheimer’s disease research funding. The National Institutes of Health immediately dedicated an additional $50 million from its fiscal year 2012 funding to Alzheimer’s disease research.
Sustaining and growing the Alzheimer’s disease research investment. The President’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposes $80 million in new Alzheimer’s disease research funding. Together, the fiscal years 2012 and 2013 investments would total $130 million in new Alzheimer’s disease research funding over two years.
Supporting people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families and educating the public and providers. The initiative also includes $26 million to support the goals of the National Plan, including:
- Education and outreach to improve the public’s understanding of Alzheimer’s disease
- Outreach to enhance health care providers’ knowledge of the disease
- Expanded support for people with Alzheimer’s disease and caregivers in the community
- Improved data collection and analysis to better understand the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on people with the disease, families and the health and long-term care systems
When Most People Hear The Word Dementia They Think Of Memory Loss
And it does often start by affecting the short-term memory. Someone with dementia might repeat themselves and have problems recalling things that happened recently. But dementia can also affect the way people think, speak, perceive things, feel and behave.
Other common symptoms include:
- problems planning and thinking things through
- struggling with familiar daily tasks, like following a recipe or using a bank card
- issues with language and communication, for example trouble remembering the right word or keeping up with a conversation
- problems judging distances
- mood changes and difficulties controlling emotions. For example, someone might get unusually sad, frightened, angry, easily upset, or lose their self-confidence and become withdrawn.
Symptoms of dementia gradually get worse over time. How quickly this happens varies from person to person and some people stay independent for years.
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Genetic Testing And Alzheimers Disease
Testing can show whether you have a version of a gene that increases your risk of Alzheimers. Testing can also uncover the rare cases when an inherited genetic change, or mutation, causes Alzheimers.
At OHSU, we generally do not recommend routine genetic testing for Alzheimers because:
- Many factors can lead to the disease.
- Most people who develop Alzheimers do not have a related genetic variant.
- Most people who have a variant do not develop the disease.
Talk with your primary care doctor or to a medical geneticist to learn more or to better understand your risk if youve taken a test on your own.
Genetic testing can show whether you carry an inherited gene mutation that causes early-onset Alzheimers. In some cases, we may recommend testing to confirm a diagnosis in someone who has signs or symptoms of early-onset Alzheimers.
Some family members, after careful discussion with a genetic counselor, may also want testing to find out whether they carry the mutation.
At-home tests from DNA analysis companies can give consumers access to limited genetic testing, without guidance from a genetic counselor. An at-home test can detect variants that increase the risk of late-onset Alzheimers disease.
Do We Know What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists still are not certain. Several risk factors, such as age and family history, have been identified as potential risk factors but cannot alone cause the disease. Each year, scientists are uncovering important new clues about potential causes of the disease, which is helping to find better diagnostic and treatment options.
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What Is Alzheimers Disease
- Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia.
- It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment.
- Alzheimers disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.
- It can seriously affect a persons ability to carry out daily activities.
Strategy 3c: Assist Families In Planning For Future Care Needs
The vast majority of people do not think about or plan for the long-term services and supports they will need until they experience a disability or AD. Many Americans incorrectly believe that Medicare will cover most of the costs of these supportive services.31, 32 Unfortunately, by the time care is needed, it is difficult to get coverage in the private long-term care insurance market, and options are limited.33 Educating people about their potential need for long-term services and supports and the significant advantages of planning ahead for these services encourages timely preparation. Planning ahead can help ensure that individuals with AD receive care in the setting they prefer and that their dignity is maintained.
Action 3.C.1: Examine awareness of long-term care needs and barriers to planning for these needs
HHS is working to better understand why middle-aged adults do or do not plan for long-term care needs. HHS will conduct a national survey to examine attitudes toward long-term care. It will also identify barriers to long-term care planning.
Action 3.C.2: Expand long-term care awareness efforts
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Strategy 2g: Advance Coordinated And Integrated Health And Long
Coordinating the care received by people with Alzheimer’s disease in different settings by different providers can help reduce duplication and errors and improve outcomes.24 Despite a general consensus that care coordination is important, more research is needed to determine how best to provide such care in a high-quality and cost-efficient manner. The actions under this strategy will focus on learning from the existing evidence regarding care coordination and using this information to implement and evaluate care coordination models for people with AD.
Action 2.G.1: Review evidence on care coordination models for people with Alzheimer’s disease
HHS will convene federal partners and outside experts to review the research on care coordination models for people with Alzheimer’s disease. This review will include an in-depth examination of promising models of care to help identify key components that improve outcomes for people with AD. HHS will also review the evidence comparing the effectiveness of structures, processes, and interventions on health, psychosocial, and functional outcomes of people with AD in long-term care settings and their caregivers.
Action 2.G.2: Implement and evaluate care coordination models
Provides Time To Record Memories
With a progressive disease such as Alzheimer’s, some people choose to be intentional about recording meaningful memories of the person with dementia. There are many ways to do this, including writing, photos, videos and more. These memories can serve as a wonderful way to cherish your loved one, share their personality and life story with caregivers, and trigger recollections as you talk with your family member.
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Risk Factors And Prevention
Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not an inevitable consequence of biological ageing. Further, dementia does not exclusively affect older people young onset dementia accounts for up to 9% of cases. Studies show that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline and dementia by being physically active, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Additional risk factors include depression, social isolation, low educational attainment, cognitive inactivity and air pollution.
Strategy 3b: Enable Family Caregivers To Continue To Provide Care While Maintaining Their Own Health And Well
Even though informal caregivers usually prefer to provide care to their loved ones in their home or other community settings, eventually the round-the-clock care needs of the person with AD may necessitate nursing home placement. While they are providing care, supports for families and caregivers can help lessen feelings of depression and stress and help delay nursing home placement.28, 29, 30 The actions below will further support informal caregivers by identifying their support needs developing and disseminating interventions giving caregivers information they need, particularly in crisis situations and assisting caregivers in maintaining their health and well-being.
Action 3.B.1: Identify unmet service needs
HHS will analyze surveys and datasets, such as the Caregiver Supplement to the National Health and Aging Trends Study, to identify the service needs of caregivers of people with AD. These findings will be published and disseminated to federal partners and the public. HHS will also meet with state and local officials and stakeholders to discuss unmet needsin their communities.
Action 3.B.2: Identify and disseminate best practices for caregiver assessment and referral through the long-term services and supports system
Action 3.B.3: Review the state of the art of evidence-based interventions that can be delivered by community-based organizations
Action 3.B.4: Develop and disseminate evidence-based interventions for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers
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What Causes Alzheimer Disease
Lots of research is being done to find out more about the causes of Alzheimer disease. There is no one reason why people get it. Older people are more likely to get it, and the risk increases the older the person gets. In other words, an 85-year-old is more likely to get it than a 65-year-old. And women are more likely to get it than men.
Researchers also think genes handed down from family members can make a person more likely to get Alzheimer disease. But that doesn’t mean everyone related to someone who has it will get the disease. Other things may make it more likely that someone will get the disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Down syndrome, or having a head injury.
On the positive side, researchers believe exercise, a healthy diet, and taking steps to keep your mind active may help delay the start of Alzheimer disease.
What Is Alzheimer Disease
Alzheimer disease, which affects some older people, is different from everyday forgetting. It is a condition that permanently affects the brain. Over time, the disease makes it harder to remember even basic stuff, like how to tie a shoe.
Eventually, the person may have trouble remembering the names and faces of family members or even who he or she is. This can be very sad for the person and his or her family.
It’s important to know that Alzheimer disease does not affect kids. It usually affects people over 65 years of age. Researchers have found medicines that seem to slow the disease down. And there’s hope that someday there will be a cure.
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Comparison With Existing Literature
While several reviews have considered the benefits and challenges of an early diagnosis of Alzheimers disease,45,48,49 a greater focus of the current review is placed on how early diagnosis can be used to identify those at risk for or with mild cognitive impairment to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimers disease and subsequent dementia.
Why Are Dementias Including Alzheimers Disease Important
In 2014, Alzheimers disease was the 6th leading cause of death among adults aged 18 years and older based on death certificate data.1 Estimates vary, but analysis of data from the Chicago Health and Aging Project and 2010 U.S. Census data suggests that the prevalence of dementia among adults aged 65 years and older in the U.S. in 2016 is 11%, or 5.2 million people.2,3 The estimated total cost for health care, long-term care, and hospice for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is estimated to be $236 billion for 2016.2
Dementia affects an individuals health, quality of life, and ability to live independently. It can also diminish a persons ability to effectively:
- Manage medications and medical conditions
- Make financial decisions
There are important steps to take to improve the care and support for people with dementia and their caregivers. These include:
- Increasing the availability of existing effective diagnostic tools
- Reducing the severity of cognitive and behavioral symptoms through medical management
- Supporting family caregivers with social, behavioral, and legal resources
- Encouraging healthy behaviors to reduce the risk of co-occurring conditions
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Helpful Routines And Reminders
Memory loss can be difficult to cope with and frustrating. However, there are strategies that you can use to help you manage your memory problems and help you stay independent for as long as possible.
The information on this page is also available in print-friendly PDFs:
You can also contact your Society for copies.
If Im Frequently Forgetting Things It Must Be Alzheimers Disease
Even though memory problems are typically one of the first signs of Alzheimers, not all memory problems mean a person has the disease. Some forgetfulness is normal as we age.
Talk with your doctor to determine whether the memory changes youre noticing are normal or may be a sign of something more serious. In some cases, depression or medication side effects can cause memory and other thinking problems. With treatment, it may be possible to reverse some memory problems due to these reasons.
Learn more about whats normal memory loss and whats not.
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Only People In Their 70s And Older Get Alzheimers Disease
While the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimers is age, that does not mean that only older adults develop it. For most people with Alzheimers, its true that symptoms first appear in their mid-60s or beyond. However, some people experience symptoms earlier, even as young as their 30s. When a person develops Alzheimers between their 30s and mid-60s, its called early-onset Alzheimers. Early-onset Alzheimers is rare representing less than 10% of people with Alzheimers. Developing Alzheimers earlier in life can present specific challenges. People diagnosed at younger ages may be more likely to be raising children who are still at home or managing work and having to apply for disability than those who are diagnosed at older ages.
Many people with Down syndrome, a genetic condition, will also develop Alzheimers at an earlier age and may begin to show symptoms in their 40s.
Learn more about the causes of Alzheimers disease.
Strategy 4b: Work With State Tribal And Local Governments To Improve Coordination And Identify Model Initiatives To Advance Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness And Readiness Across The Government
State, tribal, and local governments are working to help address challenges faced by people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Nineteen states and a handful of local entities have published plans to address AD that cover many of the same issues as the National Plan. Leveraging the available resources and programs across these levels of government will aid in the success of these efforts.
Action 4.B.1: Convene leaders from state, tribal, and local governments
HHS will convene national leaders from state, tribal, and local government organizations to identify steps for increasing AD awareness and readiness in their jurisdictions. These leaders will create an agenda for partnering and supporting the efforts described in this National Plan. HHS will engage key stakeholders from a range of constituencies whose participation is important for the success of this effort.
Action 4.B.2: Continue to convene federal partners
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