Alzheimer’s disease, also called senile dementia, is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. In people with Alzheimer’s disease the brain cells themselves degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all cases. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning, thinking, remembering, reasoning, and behavioral abilities. Scientists don’t yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but it has become increasingly clear that the causes include some mix of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. 
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS
Alzheimer’s disease symptoms may be hard to recognize at first. It is easy to assume that symptoms such as mild forgetfulness or an occasional loss of focus are normal signs of aging. But as the disease progresses, Alzheimer’s disease symptoms become more than “normal” changes. They become incapacitating, and dangerous. In the latter stages of disease, people with Alzheimer’s often require round-the-clock care. Common symptoms include :
- Inability to communicate with or recognize other people
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Strong feelings of paranoia and anger
- Inability to smile
- Inability to walk
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease; available treatments offer relatively small symptomatic benefit. Traditional treatments can be divided into pharmaceutical, psychosocial and caregiving. Two types of drugs are currently used to treat cognitive symptoms: 
Cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs work by boosting levels of a cell-to-cell communication chemical depleted in the brain by Alzheimer’s disease. Less than half of those taking these drugs can expect to have any improvement.
Memantine (Namenda). This drug works in another brain cell communication network and slows the progression of symptoms with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. It’s sometimes used in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor.
Adapting the living situation to the needs of a person with Alzheimer’s is an important part of any treatment plan. For someone with Alzheimer’s, establishing and strengthening routine habits and minimizing memory-demanding tasks can make life much easier.
Sadly, studies have shown that none of the currently prescribed medications appear to alter the course of Alzheimer’s dementia.