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Fast facts on Alzheimer's disease

  • Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia.

  • It happens when plaques containing beta amyloid form in the brain.

  • As symptoms worsen, it becomes harder for people to remember recent events, to reason, and to recognize people they know.

  • Eventually, a person with Alzheimer's is likely to need full-time assistance.


A person with Alzheimer's will eventually need full-time assistance.To receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, the person must have experienced a decline in cognitive or behavioral function and performance compared with how they were previously. This decline must interfere with their ability to function at work or in usual activities.The cognitive decline must be seen in at least two of the five symptom areas listed below:1. Reduced ability to take in and remember new information, which can lead, for example, to:

  • repetitive questions or conversations

  • misplacing personal belongings

  • forgetting events or appointments

  • getting lost on a familiar route

2. Impairments to reasoning, complex tasking, and exercising judgment, for example:

  • poor understanding of safety risks

  • inability to manage finances

  • poor decision-making ability

  • inability to plan complex or sequential activities

3. Impaired visuospatial abilities that are not, for example, due to eye sight problems. These could be:

  • inability to recognize faces or common objects or to find objects in direct view

  • inability to use simple tools, for example, to orient clothing to the body


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