While there are no known causes for Alzheimer’s disease, a genetic change can increase your risk of developing the condition. The APOE e4 allele is found in 25 to 30 percent of the population, but not everyone with this allele will develop the disease. Scientists have found rare changes in three genes that nearly guarantee Alzheimer’s disease in a child. These changes account for less than one percent of Alzheimer’s cases.
As the disease progresses, daily tasks and routines become increasingly difficult. However, many of these activities are still retained for a longer period of time, even when the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease worsen. Some people with this disorder have trouble with language and even managing their finances. They may wear inappropriate clothing or make other incongruous social choices. They may also have difficulty with thinking and responding to everyday situations. These symptoms are not always obvious.
The disease develops in two parts of the brain, the cerebrum and the hippocampus. It begins in the memory region of the brain and progresses in a predictable pattern. By the late stages, the brain is progressively shrinking. Various proteins are present in the brain, including beta-amyloid, which is a fragment of a larger protein called tau. These proteins interfere with the functioning of nerve cells, disrupting their communication with one another.
The brain contains more than 100 billion nerve cells. These cells communicate with one another to perform tasks. Scientists have identified two types of Alzheimer’s: early and late. The early stage affects memory and reasoning while the later stage damages the brain’s sensory processing, language and conscious thought regions. Those with this form of Alzheimer’s are typically bedridden and dependent on others for care. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are caused by the continued death of brain nerve cells.