Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder with no known cause or cure.
Symptoms of the disease include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, personality changes, disorientation, and loss of language skills.
More than 100,000 people die each year in the United States because Alzheimer's disease.
Although the disease can last for as many as 20 years, AD patients can live from 8 to 10 years after they are diagnosed. Eventually, the persons with Alzheimer's disease will not be able to take care of themselves.
An early, accurate diagnosis of AD is very important since some symptoms are reversible, such as depression, nutritional deficiencies, or drug reactions.
An early diagnosis also helps patients and their families plan for the future. It gives them time to discuss care while the patient can still take part in making decisions.
A definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is only possible with an autopsy.
However, it's possible to achieve an 85%-90% accurate diagnosis through a series
of tests and evaluations.
These could include a detailed medical history and physical examination, neurological and mental tests, ECG, x-rays, and blood and urine tests.