May 2001
What is Alzheimer's Disease?
  • IT IS a brain disease.
  • IT IS the most common cause of dementia (loss of mental ability).
  • IT AFFECTS thinking, judgement, language, and behavior.
  • IT IS variable and unpredictable. People with Alzheimer's have moments of clarity; good days and bad. The symptoms are not the same for everyone.

What It Is NOT

  • IT IS NOT normal, age-related forgetfulness.
  • IT IS NOT mental retardation, laziness, or a character flaw.
  • IT IS NOT caused by smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet, vitamin deficiency, aluminum poisoning, or high blood pressure.
  • IT IS NOT contagious, preventable, or curable.

Although Alzheimer's disease is not curable, it IS treatable. Medications can slow the progress of the disease, and with help, families can learn to cope with it.

Symptoms of Early Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's Disease may be a possibility when the person:

  • is increasingly and persistently forgetful
  • has mild personality changes
  • has minor disorientation
  • frequently loses or misplaces familiar items
  • has mild difficulties finding the right word
  • has mild difficulties performing arithmetic calculations.

As the disease progresses, the person:

  • has noticeable memory loss
  • frequently uses words inappropriately
  • begins to lose the ability to perform normal tasks of daily living involving muscle coordination, such as cooking, dressing, bathing, shopping, or balancing a checkbook
  • may wander off, become agitated, confuse day and night, and fail to recognize friends and relatives with whom they are not very close
  • loses the ability to recognize and use familiar objects, such as clothing.

If someone you love shows symptoms that suggest Alzheimer's disease, seek the advice of a geriatrician (physician specializing in the care of the elderly).

For a referral to a geriatrician, call Bridgeport Hospital Physician Referral, 888-357-2396.