Center for Neurobehavioral Health

Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there.

Many different diseases can cause dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and stroke.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Lewy body disease is another leading cause of dementia in elderly adults, as is Cerebrovascular Disease.

Most types of dementia are nonreversible (degenerative). Nonreversible means the changes in the brain that are causing the dementia cannot be stopped or turned back.

Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia. However, memory loss by itself does not mean you have dementia. People with dementia have serious problems with two or more brain functions, such as memory and language. Although dementia is common in very elderly people, it is not part of normal aging.

Drugs are available to treat some of these diseases. While these drugs cannot cure dementia or repair brain damage, they may improve symptoms or slow down the disease.

The following medical conditions also can lead to dementia:

  • Huntington's disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Infections that can affect the brain, such as HIV /AIDS and Lyme disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Pick's disease
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy

Some causes of dementia may be stopped or reversed if they are found soon enough, including:

  • Brain injury
  • Brain tumors
  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Changes in blood sugar, sodium, and calcium levels (Dementia due to metabolic causes)
  • Low vitamin B12 levels
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Discontinuing use of certain medications

Dementia usually occurs in older age. It is rare in people under age 60. The risk for dementia increases as a person gets older.

 

Contact Information

If you would like more information about the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center, please contact

Kristen Chapin-Lavigne, Office Manager

Phone: (518) 564-3377
Toll-Free Phone: (800) 388-0199
Fax: (518) 564-3313
E-mail: klavi001@plattsburgh.edu

Mailing Address

Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center
Beaumont Hall 211
101 Broad St.
Plattsburgh, NY 12901