Alzheimer's Disease Fast Facts

(CNN)Here is a look at Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder that leads to loss of memory and other intellectual abilities.

Facts:
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, which is a general term for the loss of memory and intellectual abilities.
Alzheimer's disease is fatal and there is no cure. It is a slow-moving disease that starts with memory loss and ends with severe brain damage.
The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, the neuropathologist did an autopsy on the brain of a woman who died after exhibiting language problems, unpredictable behavior and memory loss. Dr. Alzheimer discovered the amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which are considered the hallmarks of the disease.
    Contributing Factors:
    Age - The likelihood of developing Alzheimer's doubles every five years after the age of 65. For most people, symptoms first appear after the age of 60.
    Family history - Genetics play a role in an individual's risk of developing the disease.
    Head trauma - There is a possible link between the disease and repeated trauma or loss of consciousness.
    Heart health - The risk of vascular dementia increases with heart conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
    Possible Symptoms:
    Memory loss
    Repeating questions and statements
    Poor judgment
    Misplacing items
    Mood and personality changes
    Confusion
    Delusions and paranoia
    Impulsiveness
    Seizures
    Difficulty swallowing