Many people have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease, whether you have been diagnosed yourself or you are caring for someone with the condition.

The NHS says Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia in the UK, with an estimated 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 and 1 in every 6 people over the age of 80 being diagnosed.

Dementia is not a different illness from Alzheimer's as it’s the name for a “group of symptoms” associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning.

Health professionals have said although the disease is “not yet fully understood”, a number of things can increase the risk of developing it, such as getting older, having a family history of the condition and lifestyle factors associated with cardiovascular disease.

What are the early symptoms of Alzheimer's?

It’s thought that around 1 in every 20 people with Alzheimer's is under the age of 65, which is called “early” or “young-onset” Alzheimer's disease, reports the NHS.

When it begins to affect a person, the first sign is usually memory problems.

This can range from forgetting conversations to not being able to remember the names of objects and places.

As the condition progresses, the symptoms become more severe, such as:

  • confusion, disorientation and getting lost in familiar places
  • difficulty planning or making decisions
  • problems with speech and language
  • problems moving around without assistance or performing self-care tasks
  • personality changes, such as becoming aggressive, demanding and suspicious of others
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) and delusions (believing things that are untrue)
  • low mood or anxiety

Can you prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

The NHS says the cause of Alzheimer’s isn’t known and there is no official way to prevent it.

However, people can introduce some factors that may reduce their risk or delay the disease, including:

  • stopping smoking and cutting down on alcohol
  • eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight
  • staying physically fit and mentally active

It’s important to note that if you have any health concerns, you must speak to your GP.

More information about dementia and Alzheimer's disease can be found on the NHS website, Alzheimer's Society, Alzheimer's Association and Dementia UK.