Alzheimer disease is a brain disorder. People lose the ability to think, reason, and remember. Symptoms can change from day to day. Over time the disease gets worse. Alzheimer dementia is when a person can no longer care for him or herself.
|Areas of the Brain Affected by Alzheimer Disease|
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Brain cells stop working and begin to die. Why this happens is not clear. It could be a mix of:
People with Alzheimer disease have more things called tangles and plaques in their brains. These may block how the cells talk to each other. They are:
- Neurofibrillary tangles—pieces of a protein called tau fibers are twisted in the cells
- Neuritic plaques—a protein called beta amyloid builds up between nerve cells
These changes often start where the brain stores memory. This damage may begin many years before a person has symptoms.
Alzheimer dementia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/alzheimer-dementia. Accessed April 6, 2022.
Alzheimer's disease medications fact sheet. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-medications-fact-sheet. Accessed April 6, 2022.
Atri, A. The Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Spectrum: Diagnosis and Management. Med Clin North Am. 2019; 103(2): 263-293.
What is Alzheimer's? Alzheimer’s Association website. Available at: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers. Accessed April 6, 2022.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 03/2022
- Update Date: 04/06/2022