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Caring for Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological condition characterized by progressive decline in mental function, and most notably, memory loss. In this disease, changes occur gradually in the brain and disrupt connections between brain cells, causing them to die. It’s the most common cause of dementia among older adults in the US.

If you or a loved one notice symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in the Bay Area, a Dignity Health neurologist can help. To receive personalized care, use our search tool to Find a Doctor.

Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms

Signs and symptoms depend on the stage of the disease. The three stages of Alzheimer’s disease are:

  • Mild (early stage)
  • Moderate (middle stage)
  • Severe (late stage)

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are often missed during the early stages, but as it progresses, can include: 

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty problem solving
  • Inability to follow a conversation
  • Increasing forgetfulness
  • Getting lost in previous familiar territory
  • Gradual loss of enjoyment in favorite activities
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Trouble with multitasking

Alzheimer’s Disease Causes

Researchers believe an inherited genetic defect is responsible for changes in the brain that lead to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The specific cause of Alzheimer’s disease in it’s late-onset form is still unknown, but it’s linked to a specific genetic defect. If you have a relative with Alzheimer’s, your risk is higher for developing it.

Other risk factors for Alzheimer’s include obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, head trauma, smoking, and poor cardiovascular health.

Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment at Dignity Health

Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is aimed at minimizing symptoms and improving quality of life. Depending on the severity of the disease, Dignity Health doctors may prescribe medications to slow down memory loss and sedatives to reduce anxiety or help with sleep. 

While there is no definite way to prevent Alzheimer’s, you can take a proactive approach to your overall health by:

  • Eating a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains)
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Staying socially and mentally active 

To learn more about ways to boost your cognitive health, meet with a Dignity Health neurologist. 

Find care for Alzheimer’s disease in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City, at Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area.