What is the latest information on Alzheimer's disease

The most important thing about Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is an organic brain disease. She is after the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer(1864 - 1915) who first scientifically described the disease in 1906.

The greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease is age. Only in rare cases are those affected younger than 60 years.

Characteristic for the disease is the slowly progressive decline of nerve cells and nerve cell contacts.

There are in the brains of Alzheimer's sufferers typical Detect protein deposits (amyloid plaques).

The clinical picture includes memory and orientation disorders, language disorders, disorders of the ability to think and judge as well as changes in personality. These disorders vary in severity among those affected and increase in the course of the disease. They make coping with normal everyday life more and more difficult.

Patients are increasingly dependent on help and support. The respective requirements for care, nursing, therapy and medical treatment are very different. Because Alzheimer's patients are not a uniform group, but rather individuals with very different backgrounds, skills and deficits who live in different social and economic situations.

On the following Info sheets, which are available in PDF format, provide information on the diagnosis, therapy, genetics and biology of Alzheimer's disease. These information sheets have been compiled for us by recognized experts in the various fields. The information on drug therapies can also be found in a similar form in the guidelines of the scientific specialist societies and patient guidelines.

You can find more information, for example on long-term care insurance, care rights or relief offers in the Relatives section

Course of Alzheimer's Disease

Mild dementia

In the early stages of the disease, impairments of the short-term memory are in the foreground. The sick cannot memorize the content of conversations or can no longer find objects that have been deposited. In addition, there are disorders of planning and organizing thinking, word finding and orientation disorders.

The sick often experience consciously that they are forgetting something. They are confused because other people are saying things they cannot remember. This is threatening to them and there are more embarrassing situations. Depending on the personality structure, the sick react depressively, aggressively, defensively or with withdrawal. You are trying to maintain a "facade".

At this stage, those affected are largely independent in their everyday tasks. They can only carry out complicated activities, for example keeping a bank account or using public transport, with help. The skills to make judgments and solve problems are limited, but not abolished. For this reason, those affected at this stage of the disease must be involved in decisions regarding their treatment and care.

The limitations of memory, the ability to think and the ability to orientate gradually increase and reach a level that no longer allows independent living. Those affected increasingly need help with simple daily tasks such as shopping, preparing meals, using household appliances or personal hygiene. Many sick people can no longer form complete sentences and are therefore difficult to understand. The memories of long past events also fade. They no longer know who they married or what job they had, what their children's names are or how old they are.

The perception of one's own illness is also largely lost. It can happen that the sick feel like they are in their prime, want to look for their long-dead parents or want to go to work. There can also be pronounced changes in behavior. They are particularly stressful for the relatives. The most common is profound restlessness. The dementia patients pace restlessly up and down, run after their caregivers, keep asking the same questions or want to leave the apartment all the time. Many sick people also show irritable and aggressive behavior. It is not uncommon for delusional fears or beliefs to arise, for example being stolen from, cheated on or deported.

In the advanced stage there is a high degree of mental degradation, the language is limited to a few words or it dries up completely. The dementia sufferers are dependent on help in all activities of daily life. As a rule, you lose control of your bladder and bowel, as well as your posture. Many can no longer walk without help, need a wheelchair or become bedridden. There may be stiffness in the limbs, swallowing disorders and seizures.

The susceptibility to infections increases. Alzheimer's disease itself does not lead to death. The leading cause of death is an infectious disease.