In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimers, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimers is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimers 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. People with Alzheimer disease also develop deposits of stuff (protein and fiber) that prevent the cells from working properly. When this happens, the cells cant send the right signals to other parts of the brain. Over time, brain cells affected by Alzheimer disease also begin to shrink and die. Lots of research is being done to find out more about the causes of Alzheimer disease.
There is no one reason why people get Alzheimer disease. Older people are more likely to get it, and the risk gets greater the older the person gets. For instance, the risk is higher for someone who is 85 than it is for someone who is 65. And women are more likely to get it than men. Researchers also think genes handed down from family members can make a person more likely to get Alzheimer disease. But that doesnt mean everyone related to someone who has it will get the disease. Other factors, combined with genes, may make it more likely that someone will get the disease. Some of them are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Down syndrome, or having a head injury.