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Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia. Dementia is a condition in which a person develops difficulties with cognitive function. This means the person has difficulty with judgment, the ability to reason or memory.

Alzheimer’s disease: what you should know

  • Some common early Alzheimer’s disease symptoms include the following:
    • Confusion
    • Getting lost in familiar settings
    • Difficulty with complex tasks
    • Difficulty with language, such as not remembering the correct word for items
  • Dementia specialists can help you rule out other conditions that may cause thinking problems, such as a brain tumor, stroke or depression.
  • Memory loss is not inevitable as you age. Research at Rush suggests that the following lifestyle changes have the potential to slow mental decline and delay symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s:
    • Having a “higher purpose” and finding meaning in life
    • Maintaining a social network
    • Getting regular physical exercise
    • Eating a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vegetables, fish and olive oil with moderate alcohol consumption (known as the Mediterranean diet)
    • Engaging in mentally stimulating activities

How can I get help for Alzheimer’s disease?

  • If you suspect you or a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, see your primary care physician. Most primary care physicians have the ability to diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease.
  • If your primary care doctor needs additional support for your care, he or she may seek the advice of a dementia specialist, like those at Rush. A dementia specialist can include a geriatrician (an internist or family medicine physician who focuses on older adults only), a neurologist who specializes in treating dementia or a psychiatrist who specializes in older adults (geropsychiatrist). 

Departments and programs that treat this condition