Alzheimer's Disease

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alzheimersVERMONT - When most people hear the term Alzheimer's, they cringe at the thought that they may have it someday, or that someone they know already does. Alzheimer's is a common type of dementia that generally occurs in patients age 65 or older. Alzheimer's causes memory problems, as well as difficulty in thinking and behavior.

"The problem is as we age there is a normal memory impairment. It just happens, it's part of aging," Said Physicians Assistant Miriam Simon.

Every 67 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Early onset Alzheimer's is just one of many types of the disease. This type usually occurs in adults who are in their 40's and 50'.

The diagnosis process can be extremely long and frustrating to the patient. Stress is often mis-diagnosed in the early stages of early onset Alzheimer's.

"I think Alzheimer's is much more of a functional diagnoses, there needs to be more global cognitive impairment than just memory," Said Simon. "We have something called mild memory impairment and there's different stages, it's all a continuum."

It is a common disease in the United States, as the chance to develop it doubles every five years after the age of 65. After the age of 85, it increases fifty percent. There isn't much you can do to prevent Alzheimer's as you age.

"On some people the trajectory is very slow and on others it's very quick," Said Simon. "If you look at the path of physiology it sounds like there's more than one disease there, but it all looks the same to us."

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It kills more American's than prostate and breast cancer combined. For more information and tips on Alzheimer's, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.