What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Learning as much as you can about Alzheimer’s helps you and your loved one prepare for the road ahead1,2

Older couple, dementia and Alzheimer's disease demographic, walking on beach Alzheimer’s disease usually affects older people and is a progressive brain disease (meaning that it gets worse over time). It affects the way a person thinks, reasons, and solves problems. Over time, Alzheimer’s can also affect behavior, personality, and language. Because it’s a progressive disease, these symptoms become more severe over time.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a term for a group of brain disorders that are characterized by thinking and behavioral problems. Alzheimer’s disease is the cause of 50% to 80% of all dementia cases.

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging1

While the cause of Alzheimer’s is not entirely known, we know that the greatest risk factor is age. The majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease are 65 years or older. But Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging and not all older people develop the disease.

Alzheimer’s can also affect younger people. About 5% of people with Alzheimer’s begin experiencing symptoms in their 40s or 50s; this is known as familial or early onset Alzheimer’s disease.