Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a condition that causes abnormal changes in the brain mainly affecting memory and other mental abilities. Alzheimer's is a disease, not a normal part of aging. Loss of memory is the usual first symptom. As the disease progresses, the loss of reasoning ability, language, decision-making ability, judgment and other critical skills make navigating day-to-day living impossible without help from others, most often a family member or friend. Sometimes, but not always, difficult changes in personality and behavior occur.
Five million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, a number that's expected to increase to 15 million by 2050. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and disproportionally impacts minorities and women. Two out of three Alzheimer's patents are women.