Memory problems


What is Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. Dementia affects cells in the brain; their functioning worsens with time and they eventually die. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. 70% of dementia sufferers in the Netherlands have this disease. The disease usually starts between 70 and 80 years old, but it can also occur at a younger age.

What causes Alzheimer's disease?

The cause of Alzheimer’s disease has not yet been identified, but we do know that there is a greater chance of getting the disease if a first-degree relative has it. The cause is likely to be hereditary if Alzheimer's starts at a young age. Today’s thinking in connection with Alzheimer’s disease is that accumulations of certain proteins in the brain play a key role in the death of the brain cells.

Symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease

Not much can be noticed of Alzheimer’s in its early stages. All sorts of symptoms accumulate over a long period of time before dementia is even considered. Memory problems are usually the first noticeable symptom. You forget ordinary things, get lost in familiar places or you regularly leave food to burn on the hob. As Alzheimer's progresses, you gradually lose control of your own life. It becomes increasingly more difficult to function in everyday life without assistance. Thinking, speaking and doing things takes more and more effort. Exactly how Alzheimer's manifests itself and how quickly the decline progresses varies from one person to the next.

Eventually, you have to depend on others to care for you. You become increasingly weak and risk falling. Because your condition is weak your resistance is compromised, so you are more susceptible to illnesses, like pneumonia. In most cases the ultimate cause of death is not Alzheimer's, but a weakened condition or an infection.



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