Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and irreversible brain disease that obstructs memory, thinking, behavior, and judgement. Symptoms usually develop slowly and worsen over time. During later stages, individuals often lose the ability to complete daily tasks and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases.

Dementia refers to a group of symptoms that impairs cognitive functioning and behavioral ability. There is currently no cure for dementia, but some treatments can slow the progression of symptoms and temporarily delay memory loss. Today, there is a worldwide effort to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s and related disorders.  More

To learn more about the differences between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, visit:

What you should do:

  • Lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s:  Approximately 5.5 million Americans age 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s and this number is projected to increase as the population ages. Although there are no proven prevention strategies, certain lifestyle choices have the potential to improve your brain health and lower your risk for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders:
    • Exercise regularly and commit to a balanced, heart-healthy diet
    • Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night
    • Maintain strong social connections and engage in cognitively stimulating activities
    • Protect your head by:
      • Wearing a seat belt
      • Wearing a helmet when participating in sports or riding a bicycle, scooter, motorized bicycle, or motorcycle
      • Making your home “fall-proof”
    • Control and manage chronic diseases by regularly checking in with your doctor and by maintaining positive lifestyle behaviors, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, and good sleep. For more information on self-management tools and preventive health workshops, visit our Community Health Network Page.
    • Avoid smoking. There is growing evidence that smoking is associated with cognitive decline and dementia. more
    • Maintain a healthy weight. more
    • Learn more about resources that are available for chronic disease and management and prevention if you have or are at risk of developing hypertension, prediabetes, or diabetes.
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  • Get screened:  If you have a decline in memory loss or thinking that affects your ability to perform daily tasks, ask your doctor to screen you for Alzheimer’s and related conditions. Early evaluation and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders are important for maximizing the benefit of available treatments and alleviating dementia-like symptoms.  To diagnose Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, doctors conduct tests to evaluate memory and cognitive impairment, functional abilities, and behavioral changes. They also perform a physical evaluation and assess whether other health conditions could be contributing to your symptoms.  more
  • Get treatment: Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are medications and alternative treatment options that may help you improve and manage symptoms.  more

    • Cholinesterase and memantine are two types of FDA-approved medications used to treat cognitive symptoms. Speak with your doctor to determine what option is best for you.
    • Alternative treatments, including herbal remedies and dietary supplements may help to enhance memory and mitigate symptoms. However, be mindful that there is greater uncertainty surrounding the safety and effectiveness of these methods.  Purity of compounds, cost, and interference with other medications must all be considered. Speak with your doctor to determine what options are best for you.

    If you are experiencing sudden changes in behavior or personality, here are some strategies and coping tips that can help you to manage symptoms:

    • Identify what has triggered behavioral symptoms and methods to help manage them.
    • Change your environment to resolve challenges and obstacles to comfort, security, and ease of mind.
    • Monitor personal comfort and create a calm environment that is free of noise and background distraction.
    • Some medications, including antidepressants, anxiolytics, and antipsychotics can be used to treat various behavioral and psychiatric symptoms.
    • Contact your doctor to describe your concerns and determine potential solutions.