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What is Alzheimer’s? By Hannah White

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia , which is a general term for memory loss as well as other cognitive abilities that are serious enough to interfere with one’s day to day life. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.”

Though memory loss may be a normal part of aging, Alzheimer’s is not. Alzheimer’s is a disease that gets worse over time. It is a progressive disease where dementia symptoms worsen gradually as the years go by. Alzheimer’s can be classified in three different stages; Mid Alzheimer’s (early stage), Moderate Alzheimer’s (middle stage) and Severe Alzheimer’s (late stage). In the disease’s early stages memory loss is mild, but in the later stages those diagnosed lose the ability to carry on conversations as well as respond to their environment in an appropriate way. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the united states. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years depending on age and other health conditions.” Changes in the brain related to Alzheimer’s begin years before any signs of the disease, which is referred to as preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently Alzheimer’s disease has no cure, but there are treatments for symptoms and continuous research being done and advancing. Current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop the disease from progressing, but the treatments can slow down the worsening of symptoms and improve the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association is a nonprofit with the worldwide effort to find better ways to treat the disease, delay onset, and prevent it from developing, ultimately finding a cure.

We offer many services right here in Peoria at our local Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter Peoria office, located at 614 W. Glen Avenue. The Alzheimer’s Association is committed to providing accessible, high quality and reliable support both in person and on the phone. Those calling our free 24/7 Helpline can receive help in their preferred language through our bilingual staff or translation service, which accommodates more than 200 languages.  If you or a loved one needs assistance or guidance you can call the free 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 to get the help you need.