Types of Alzheimer’s Disease

types of alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Those with this illness have issues like cognitive impairment, confusion, and poor decision-making skills. These symptoms are initially minor and eventually grow severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

The brain atrophy, inflammation, and vascular damage that characterize Alzheimer’s disease result in lost connections between neurons, which affect memory, thinking, and quality of life. People with Alzheimer’s gradually lose their ability to live independently, and they need a great deal of support as their condition progresses. There are two primary types of Alzheimer’s disease, categorized by when symptoms begin to show.

Late-Onset Alzheimer’s 

Late-onset Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent form of the disease. People aged 65 and older can receive this diagnosis. Older age does not cause Alzheimer’s, but it is the most significant known risk factor. Estimates suggest about one-third of all people aged 85 and older have Alzheimer’s. However, many people live beyond this milestone without developing the disease.

Early-Onset/Familial Alzheimer’s 

This type happens to people who are younger than 65. Often, they’re in their 40s or 50s when they receive their diagnosis. It’s rare – fewer than 5% of all people with Alzheimer’s have the early-onset form.

Researchers have identified a few ways in which early-onset Alzheimer’s disease differs from other types of the disease. For example, people who have it tend to exhibit more of the brain changes linked to the condition. The early-onset form also appears to stem from a chromosomal defect.

Though scientists haven’t identified a single gene that causes Alzheimer’s, most people with the early-onset type of the disease inherit a specific genetic mutation from their families. If a parent has a mutation in one of three genes, their children have a 50% chance of developing early-onset Alzheimer’s.

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

Beyond genetics, research indicates a host of factors may play a role in Alzheimer’s development. Scientists have made progress in learning what causes some people to develop Alzheimer’s disease, while others remain unaffected. For example, there is a known connection between cognitive decline and vascular conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Ongoing studies of these illnesses will help us understand how to mitigate Alzheimer’s risk factors for people of all racial backgrounds and gender identities.

People who exercise, eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and have plenty of companionship and mental stimulation are more likely to age healthfully. These lifestyle choices might also reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. 

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Our highly trained Alzheimer’s Care Companions are always there to provide valuable support and familiarity – from helping with daily tasks such as bathing and dressing to playing games and putting together puzzles. By aging in place, Legacy Homecare LA clients can maintain more independence and stability in their lives.

At every age and stage of life, we can help with day-to-day tasks or specialized care informed by our clients’ changing needs. To learn more about how our team can bring more joy and support to your loved one, reach out to our team today.

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