Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases.

Two abnormal structures called plaques and tangles disrupt the normal function of nerve cells in the brain.

  1. Plaques are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid (BAY-tuh AM-uh-loyd) that build up in the spaces between nerve cells.
  2. Tangles are twisted fibers of another protein called tau (rhymes with “wow”) that build up inside cells.

The first symptom is usually short-term memory loss. Other symptoms include: difficulty learning new information, problems with thinking and organizing, poor judgement, difficulty speaking and personality and behavior changes.

Sundowning syndrome can affect people in mid to late-stage Alzheimer’s. Sundowning can cause people to become hyperactive, agitated and confused and can cause sleep disruption.

Alzheimer’s disease changes are now known to be occurring in the brain many years before symptoms occur. Average life expectancy is 8 to 12 years after diagnosis.

Ready for a little hope? Please view the following link to see what new medications are in current clinical trials: “What New Alzheimer’s Treatments are on the Horizon.”