Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic (lifelong), progressive disease characterized by degeneration of the brain’s nervous tissue. It sets in gradually and typically presents in older people.
As the disease progresses, there is an accumulation of abnormal structures in the brain called amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles which are the universal hallmarks of the condition. These interfere with the healthy functioning of the brain and cause irreversible and progressive brain damage.
Moreover, the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s disease have a chemical imbalance since the disease process causes a breakdown of an important chemical messenger known as acetylcholine.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60 – 70% of all cases.
The factors that can protect against developing Alzheimer’s disease include physical exercise and mental exercises such as completing crosswords and numbers problems.
Dementia vs Alzheimer’s
Dementia is a syndrome characterized by a progressive, usually irreversible decline in thinking, behavior, feelings, and ability to communicate. Alzheimer’s is a gradual breakdown of brain tissue which affects a person’s mental state and behavior and progresses to affecting speaking, walking, and swallowing.