What is Alzheimers?
In answering the question, What is Alzheimers Disease? the first thing to understand is that the human brain is made up of around a billion neurons or nerve cells.
Each single one of these communicates with a set group (or network) of other nerve cells and together they enable us to complete any number of simple and complex tasks each day. It might be remembering a shopping list, recognising a face, smelling burning toast or being able to turn the page of your favourite book.
Without perfect communication and interaction within the appropriate network of nerve cells any single action can become difficult or even impossible.
The real answer to, ‘What is Alzheimers Disease?’
Brain cells shrink, or even disappear, (atrophy) within the brain of a person diagnosed with Alzheimers. As this happens abnormal and distorted fibres of ‘tau’ (tangles) form to fill the gaps within the cells, while deposits of beta-amyloid (plaques) amass on the outside of the cells.
These deposits slowly choke the remaining brain cells interrupting the communication within the cell networks, eventually making it impossible for the person to complete, remember or relearn even the simplest habit.
The early signs of Alzheimers Disease vary slightly from person to person but it is primarily the atrophy of the brain cells that causes them.
There are currently two recognised forms of this disease,
Early Onset Alzheimers
(also called Familial Alzheimers Disease) which tends to appear in younger people, and
Sporadic Alzheimers Disease
which is more common and is usually diagnosed in people over the age of 60.
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