What is Alzheimer’s?

From the desk of Dr. Holly Carling

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive brain-wasting disease.

There is an irreversible destruction/loss of brain cells (neurons) that result in the impairment of memory, reasoning, and intellectual abilities. As the brain cells die, the brain itself shrinks, which then progresses to the point of an inability to perform normal activities of daily living, and eventually dying.

The National Institute on Aging estimates there are between 2.4 million and 4.5 million Americans suffering from AD.

Approximately one third of all American seniors die of some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. These deaths have risen 68% from 2000 to 2010.

The brain, in this progressive neurologic disease, is found to have increasing amounts of plaques and tangles that develop amongst the brain cells, causing them to die. This, along with a deficiency of vital brain chemicals, disrupts the transmission of electrical charges within the cells, resulting in a loss of neurons.

These brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters are responsible for transmission of brain messages and include such chemicals as acetylcholine, serotonin and norepinephrine.

Dr. Carling is a good friend to Bennett House Adult Day Care Center and can be reached at 208-765-1994 ordrcarling@vitalhealthcda.com and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.