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URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/alzheimersdisease.html

Alzheimer's Disease
Also called: AD

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia


[https://medlineplus.gov/dementia.html] among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that
seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities.

AD begins slowly. It first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.
People with AD may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they
know. A related problem, mild cognitive impairment
[https://medlineplus.gov/mildcognitiveimpairment.html] (MCI), causes more memory problems than
normal for people of the same age. Many, but not all, people with MCI will develop AD.

In AD, over time, symptoms get worse. People may not recognize family members. They may have
trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair.
Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, they need
total care. This can cause great stress for family members who must care
[https://medlineplus.gov/alzheimerscaregivers.html] for them.

AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. Your risk is also higher if a family
member has had the disease.

No treatment can stop the disease. However, some drugs may help keep symptoms from getting
worse for a limited time.

NIH: National Institute on Aging

Start Here
Alzheimer's Disease [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet]
(National Institute on Aging)

Alzheimer's Disease Information Page [https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-


Disorders/Alzheimers-Disease-Information-Page]
(National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
Symptoms
10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's [https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs]
(Alzheimer's Association)
Also in Spanish [https://www.alz.org/espanol/signs_and_symptoms/las_10_senales.asp]

What Are the Signs of Alzheimer's Disease? [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-signs-


alzheimers-disease] (National Institute on Aging)

Diagnosis and Tests


ApoE (Apolipoprotein E) Genotyping [https://labtestsonline.org/tests/apoe-genotyping-alzheimer-
disease] (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)

Diagnosing Dementia [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/diagnosing-dementia]


(National Institute on Aging)

Prevention and Risk Factors


Assessing Risk for Alzheimer's Disease [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/assessing-risk-alzheimers-
disease] (National Institute on Aging)

Brain Health [https://www.alz.org/help-support/brain_health] (Alzheimer's Association)

Treatments and Therapies


About Alzheimer's Disease: Treatment [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers/treatment]
(National Institute on Aging)

Alzheimer's Disease at a Glance [https://nccih.nih.gov/health/alzheimer/ataglance]


(National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)

Alzheimer's Disease Medications [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-alzheimers-disease-treated]


(National Institute on Aging)
Also in Spanish [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/medicamentos-enfermedad-alzheimer]

Time to Talk: 5 Things to Know about Complementary Health Practices for Cognitive Function,
Dementia, and Alzheimer's Disease [https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/alzheimers]
(National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)

Treatments for Sleep Changes [https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/treatments/for-sleep-


changes] (Alzheimer's Association)

Living With
Alzheimer's Caregivers: MedlinePlus Health Topic
[https://medlineplus.gov/alzheimerscaregivers.html] (National Library of Medicine)
Also in Spanish [https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/alzheimerscaregivers.html]

Diet, Exercise and Health [http://www.alzinfo.org/articles/diet-exercise-health/]


(Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation)

Healthy Eating [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/healthy-eating] (National Institute on Aging) - PDF


Stages and Behaviors [https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors]
(Alzheimer's Association)
Also in Spanish [https://www.alz.org/espanol/signs_and_symptoms/comportamientos.asp]

Sundowning: Late-Day Confusion [https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-


disease/expert-answers/sundowning/FAQ-20058511?p=1]
(Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Also in Spanish [https://www.mayoclinic.org/es-es/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-
answers/sundowning/faq-20058511?p=1]

Tips for Daily Life [https://www.alz.org/help-support/i-have-alz/live-well/tips-for-daily-life]


(Alzheimer's Association)

What Happens Next? [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/now-what-next-steps-after-alzheimers-


diagnosis] (National Institute on Aging)
Also in Spanish [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/ahora-pasos-seguir-despues-ser-diagnosticado-enfermedad-
alzheimer]

Related Issues
About Alzheimer's Disease: Causes [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-causes-alzheimers-
disease] (National Institute on Aging)

Alzheimer's Disease in People with Down Syndrome [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-


disease-people-down-syndrome] (National Institute on Aging)

Alzheimer's Myths [https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers/myths]


(Alzheimer's Association)

Depression and Alzheimer's Disease [https://familydoctor.org/depression-and-alzheimers-


disease/?adfree=true] (American Academy of Family Physicians)
Also in Spanish [https://es.familydoctor.org/depresion-y-enfermedad-de-alzheimer/?adfree=true]

Understanding Memory Loss: What To Do When You Have Trouble Remembering


[https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/do-memory-problems-always-mean-alzheimers-disease]
(National Institute on Aging)

Specifics
Seven Stages of Alzheimer's [https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/stages]
(Alzheimer's Association)

Genetics
Alzheimer's Disease Genetics [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-genetics-fact-
sheet] (National Institute on Aging)

Genetics Home Reference: Alzheimer disease [https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/alzheimer-disease]


(National Library of Medicine)

If a Family Member Has Alzheimer's Disease, Will I Have It, Too?


[https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/infographics/if-family-member-has-alzheimers-disease-will-i-
have-it-too] (National Institute on Aging)
Videos and Tutorials
Alzheimer's disease [https://medlineplus.gov/ency/anatomyvideos/000003.htm]
(Medical Encyclopedia)
Also in Spanish [https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/anatomyvideos/000003.htm]

How Alzheimer's Changes the Brain [https://www.youtube.com/watch?


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v=0GXv3mHs9AU&feature=youtu.be] ] (National Institute on Aging)

Statistics and Research


Alzheimer's and Dementia Testing for Earlier Diagnosis [https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-
dementia/research_progress/earlier-diagnosis] (Alzheimer's Association)

Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures [https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures]


(Alzheimer's Association)

Treatment Horizon [https://alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/research_progress/treatment-horizon]


(Alzheimer's Association)

Clinical Trials
ClinicalTrials.gov: Alzheimer Disease
[https://clinicaltrials.gov/search/open/condition=%22Alzheimer+Disease%22]
(National Institutes of Health)

Participating in Alzheimer's Disease Research [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/participating-


alzheimers-disease-research] (National Institute on Aging)

People at Genetic Risk for Alzheimer's Disease to Test Prevention Drugs


[https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/people-genetic-risk-alzheimers-disease-test-prevention-drugs]
(National Institute on Aging)

Journal Articles
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Article: A review on flavonoid-based scaffolds as multi-target-directed ligands (MTDLs) for...


[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29763806]

Article: Spore powder of Ganoderma lucidum for the treatment of Alzheimer...


[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29742702]

Article: Randomized Trial of Verubecestat for Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer's Disease.


[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29719179]
Alzheimer's Disease -- see more articles [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?
term=alzheimer+disease[majr]+NOT+
(alzheimer+disease/etiology[mh]+OR+alzheimer+disease/genetics[mh])+AND+english[la]+AND+hu
mans[mh]+AND+
(review[pt]+OR+guideline[pt]+OR+clinical+trial[pt]+OR+jsubsetk[text]+OR+patient+education+han
dout[pt])+NOT+
(letter[pt]+OR+editorial[pt]+OR+case+reports[pt])+AND+%22last+1+Year%22[edat]]

Causes of Alzeheimer's disease -- see more articles [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=


(alzheimer+disease/genetics[majr]+OR+alzheimer+disease/etiology[majr])+AND+
(jsubsetk[text]+OR+jsubsetn[text]+OR+jsubsetaim[text]+OR+review[pt]+OR+guideline[pt]+OR+clin
ical+trial[pt]+OR+patient+education+handout[pt])+AND+humans[mh]+AND+english[la]+NOT+
(letter[pt]+OR+editorial[pt]+OR+case+reports[pt])+AND+%22last+1+Year%22[edat]]

Reference Desk
Alzheimer's: Glossary [https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/care-options/glossary]
(Alzheimer's Association)

Life and Death of a Neuron [https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Life-


and-Death-Neuron] (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

Find an Expert
Alzheimer's Association [https://www.alz.org/]

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [https://www.ninds.nih.gov/]


Also in Spanish [https://espanol.ninds.nih.gov/]

National Institute on Aging [https://www.nia.nih.gov/]


Also in Spanish [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/espanol/temas]

Patient Handouts
Alzheimer disease [https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000760.htm] (Medical Encyclopedia)
Also in Spanish [https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/article/000760.htm]

Bathing, Dressing, and Grooming: Alzheimer's Caregiving Tips


[https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/bathing-dressing-and-grooming-alzheimers-caregiving-tips]
(National Institute on Aging) - PDF
Also in Spanish [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/proporcionar-cuidado-diario-persona-alzheimer]

Changes in Communication Skills [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-caregiving-changes-


communication-skills] (National Institute on Aging) - PDF
Also in Spanish [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cambios-habilidades-comunicacion-relacionados-enfermedad-
alzheimer]

Changes in Intimacy and Sexuality in Alzheimer's Disease [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/changes-


intimacy-and-sexuality-alzheimers-disease] (National Institute on Aging) - PDF
Also in Spanish [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cambios-intimidad-sexualidad-relacionados-enfermedad-
alzheimer]

Coping with Agitation and Aggression [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/coping-agitation-and-


aggression-alzheimers-disease] (National Institute on Aging) - PDF
End-of-Life Care [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-end-life-care] (National Institute on Aging)

Hallucinations, Delusions, and Paranoia [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-and-


hallucinations-delusions-and-paranoia] (National Institute on Aging) - PDF

Healthy Eating [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/healthy-eating] (National Institute on Aging) - PDF

Helping Family and Friends Understand Alzheimer's Disease


[https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/helping-family-and-friends-understand-alzheimers-disease]
(National Institute on Aging) - PDF
Also in Spanish [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/ayudar-familiares-otros-entender-enfermedad-alzheimer]

Managing Medicines for a Person with Alzheimer's [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/managing-


medicines-person-alzheimers] (National Institute on Aging) - PDF

Managing Personality and Behavior Changes [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/managing-


personality-and-behavior-changes-alzheimers] (National Institute on Aging) - PDF

Mental status testing [https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003326.htm] (Medical Encyclopedia)


Also in Spanish [https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/article/003326.htm]

Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults [https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/urinary-incontinence-older-


adults] (National Institute on Aging) - PDF

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA

Alzheimer disease [https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000760.htm]

Alzheimer's disease [https://medlineplus.gov/ency/anatomyvideos/000003.htm]

Brain PET scan [https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007341.htm]

Dementia - home care [https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007428.htm]

Mental status testing [https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003326.htm]

Related Health Topics


Alzheimer's Caregivers [https://medlineplus.gov/alzheimerscaregivers.html]

Caregivers [https://medlineplus.gov/caregivers.html]

Dementia [https://medlineplus.gov/dementia.html]

Memory [https://medlineplus.gov/memory.html]

Mild Cognitive Impairment [https://medlineplus.gov/mildcognitiveimpairment.html]

National Institutes of Health

The primary NIH organization for research on Alzheimer's Disease is the National Institute on
Aging [https://www.nia.nih.gov/]

Other Languages

Find health information in languages other than English


[https://medlineplus.gov/languages/alzheimersdisease.html] on Alzheimer's Disease

NIH MedlinePlus Magazine

Alzheimer's and Dementia: An Overview


[https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/summer17/articles/summer17pg14.html]

Alzheimer's Treatment
[https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter15/articles/winter15pg13.html]

EXERT Yourself and Help in the Search for an Alzheimer's Cure


[https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/summer17/articles/summer17pg17.html]

Fighting for a Cure: Journalist Liz Hernandez Hopes to Make Alzheimer's a Thing of the Past
[https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/summer17/articles/summer17pg13-14.html]

Living with Alzheimer's Disease


[https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter15/articles/winter15pg8-9.html]

Memory and Forgetfulness: NIH Research


[https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/summer13/articles/summer13pg19.html]

Quiz: Alzheimer's Disease


[https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter15/articles/winter15pg12.html]

What Are the Signs of Alzheimer's Disease?


[https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter15/articles/winter15pg10.html]

What Do We Know About Preventing Alzheimer's?


[https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter15/articles/winter15pg11.html]
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U.S. National Library of Medicine 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
Page last updated on 19 July 2018
Topic last reviewed: 23 October 2017