Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
Alzheimer's is not the only cause of memory loss.
Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging
although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. But Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age.
Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early-onset Alzheimer's (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s.
Alzheimer's worsens over time.
Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years.
In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.
Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Those with Alzheimer's 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.