Alzheimer's Disease Fast Facts

(CNN)Here is some information about Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder that damages and destroys brain cells, leading to loss of memory and other intellectual abilities.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, which is a general term for the loss of memory and intellectual abilities.

Alzheimer's disease is fatal and there is no cure. It is a slow-moving disease that starts with memory loss and ends with severe brain damage.

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in America.

The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, the neuropathologist did an autopsy on the brain of a woman who died after exhibiting language problems, unpredictable behavior and memory loss. Dr. Alzheimer discovered the amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which are considered the hallmarks of the disease.

Contributing Factors:
- The likelihood of developing Alzheimer's doubles every five years after the age of 65. For most people, symptoms first appear after the age of 60.

    Family history - Genetics play a role in an individual's risk of developing the disease.

    Head trauma - There is a possible link between the disease and repeated trauma or loss of consciousness.

    Heart health - The risk of vascular dementia increases with heart conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

    Possible Symptoms:
    Memory loss
    Repeating questions and statements
    Poor judgment
    Misplacing items
    Mood and personality changes
    Delusions and paranoia
    Weight loss
    Difficulty swallowing
    Increased sleeping
    Lack of control of bowel and bladder
    Trouble handling money

    National Estimates:
    An estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. About two-thirds of that number are women.

    In 2013, there were 84,767 Alzheimer's deaths in the United States. It is the fifth leading cause of death for Americans age 65 and older.

    Women age 65 and older have a 1 in 6 chance of getting the disease and men have a 1 in 11 chance of getting the disease.

    The estimated cost of caring for Alzheimer's patients in the U.S. in 2015 is $226 billion.

    "Between 2014 and 2025 every state and region across the country is expected to experience double-digit percentage increases in the numbers of people with Alzheimer's due to increases in the proportion of the population age 65 and older," according to the Alzheimer's Association.

    Early-onset Alzheimer's Disease:
    Early-onset Alzheimer's
    is an uncommon form of dementia that strikes people younger than age 65.

    About 5 percent of all people with Alzheimer's disease develop symptoms before age 65.

    Early-onset Alzheimer's disease often runs in families.

    March 9, 2014 -
    In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have developed a blood test that predicts with astonishing accuracy whether a healthy person will develop Alzheimer's disease.

    September 2014 - The journal Aging reports that in a small study at UCLA, nine out of the 10 patients involved say their symptoms reversed after they participated in a rigorous program that included things like optimizing Vitamin D levels in the blood, using DHA supplements to bridge broken connections in the brain, optimizing gut health, and strategic fasting to normalize insulin levels.