Health Guide
Drug Guide

Alzheimer's disease

What is it?

Alzheimer's (alls-hi-mers) disease (AD) is a long term brain disease. With AD, brain cells die and do not come back. There are also fewer amounts of the normal chemicals in the brain. These chemicals carry messages back and forth between the nerve cells throughout the body. This causes problems with how you think, behave, and remember things. The disease cannot be stopped or reversed. There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease.

The disease usually starts about 65 to 70 years, but can start earlier. In its later stages, a person may need 24-hour care for feeding, personal care, and bathroom needs. AD usually lasts 2 to 10 years, but it can take 20 years before a person dies from AD.


It is not known what causes AD. The risk of getting AD increases with age but AD is not a normal part of aging. AD is probably not caused by any one factor by itself. People who have one or more of the following factors may have a greater risk of getting AD.

Signs and Symptoms:

AD is a slow disease and is different for each person. Some people may only have the disease for 5 years while others may have it for 20 years. Early signs may be missed because they look like normal aging signs. The following are the 3 stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Wellness Recommendations:

Eating healthy food, exercising, being with and talking to people, and keeping a routine are important. Regular walking can actually improve thinking for patients with AD. Aspirin may lower the risk of AD and heart disease.

Medical Care:

There is no cure for AD. The disease cannot be stopped or turned around. Treatment involves trying to keep a good quality of life for as long as possible. Medicine may be used to try to slow the early stages of the disease. It may also be used to treat anxiety, nervousness, sleep problems, or depression.

Dietary Measures:

Aluminum, a metal, may play a part in AD. Do not eat food or use products that have a high amount of aluminum.

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.



Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

Talk to your caregiver if:


Care Agreement:

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment


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Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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