More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease.
While symptoms can vary greatly, a telltale sign of Alzheimer's is memory loss that begins to adversely affect work, social life, and other lifelong activities and hobbies.
First described more than a century ago by German physician Alois Alzheimer, Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that has no cure.
Alzheimer's typically gets worse over time. What's first characterized as forgetfulness or minor memory loss can and usually does turn into feelings of confusion, trouble expressing oneself or organizing thoughts in a coherent manner, and changes in personality or behavior.
While not everyone will experience the same symptoms, many of these symptoms tend to develop as the disease progresses. This results from the interconnected nature of the nerve cells in the brain. Because these nerve cells need to communicate with one another for the brain to work effectively, when one group of nerve cells begins to deteriorate it has an adverse effect on other groups of nerve cells, eventually resulting in the negative performance of those groups of nerve cells as well. This spiraling effect causes the brain to deteriorate over time as Alzheimer's continues to advance to more serious and negative stages.