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Updated: 11/05/2017 08:30:01AM

The early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks neurons and essentially robs people of their memory and language skills. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are therapies that can slow its neurological impact. Recognizing the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s can encourage people to begin treatments that can stave off some of the more debilitating symptoms of this disease.

Though it’s most common among the elderly, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The Mayo Clinic says that the reasons behind the inception and progression of Alzheimer’s disease are largely unknown. It is believed damage starts a decade or more before problems become evident. Abnormal deposits of proteins begin to form the amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain, and these formations are the hallmarks of the disease. Once-healthy neurons gradually begin to lose their efficiency and ability to function and communicate with one another. As more neurons die, entire areas of the brain shrink. The hippocampus, which is the area of the brain essential in forming memories, may soon become compromised.

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