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WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America
WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America

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Alzheimer's Disease

Description: A common degenerative brain disease that impairs mental and emotional function in older adults, causing memory and loss and an inability to care for themselves.

Symptoms: The early symptoms may be overlooked because they resemble signs of natural aging -- forgetfulness, loss of concentration, unexplained weight loss, and motor problems, including mild difficulties in walking. Worsening memory loss and the patient's inability to understand the meaning of words are often the best clues to the disease.

Number of Americans diagnosed: Between 4 million and 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease.

Long-term problems/treatments: Sensory problems, such as hearing loss and a decline in reading ability, as well as general physical debility in newly diagnosed Alzheimer's patients indicate shorter survival time. The remaining life span of an Alzheimer's victim is generally reduced, although a patient may live anywhere from three to twenty years after diagnosis. The final phase of the disease may last from a few months to several years, during which time the patient becomes increasingly immobile and dysfunctional. No cure has yet been found for Alzheimer's.
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Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center

The Alzheimer's Association

Alzheimer Europe

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