What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is defined as an irreversible, progressive disorder that results in the physical atrophy of the brain. Memory functions slowly slip away, and cognitive skills are lost. Eventually, the degradation of the brain can result in heart attack, stroke, or other physical maladies that lead to death: Alzheimer’s disease is always fatal. It is believed that Alzheimer’s disease begins to develop in the brain up to 20 years before the first symptoms occur.

At this time, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. There are a few medications that can provide partial, temporary relief in the disease’s early stages-but they are ineffective against cognitive decline and physical deterioration.

Proportion of people with Alzheimer’s Disease in the U.S. by Age Range:


Physical changes in the brain lead to the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease

Signs & Symptoms

Indications of Alzheimer’s disease

Risk Factors

Genetics and other known factors indicating the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Early Onset

Information about early onset Alzheimer’s disease


Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

Women & Alzheimer’s

Two thirds of those afflicted are women; research is beginning to evaluate why


Diagnostic Guidelines from the National Institute on Aging for Alzheimer’s disease

Stats & Costs

Learn about the rate of occurrence, and costs, impacting the US

Better Your Brain

What causes Alzheimer’s disease to start? What makes it more likely to affect some people rather than others?