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Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that gets worse over time. It's characterized by changes in the brain that lead to deposits of certain proteins. Alzheimer's disease causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to eventually die. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia — a gradual decline in memory, thinking, behaviour and social skills. These changes affect a person's ability to function.
The early signs of the disease include forgetting recent events or conversations. Over time, it progresses to serious memory problems and loss of the ability to perform everyday tasks.
Medicines may improve or slow the progression of symptoms. Programs and services can help support people with the disease and their caregivers.
There is no treatment that cures Alzheimer's disease. In advanced stages, severe loss of brain function can cause dehydration, malnutrition or infection.
Aphasia is a disorder that affects how you communicate. It can impact your speech, as well as the way you write and understand both spoken and written language.
Aphasia usually happens suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage (degenerative). The severity of aphasia depends on a number of things, including the cause and the extent of the brain damage.
The main treatment for aphasia involves treating the condition that causes it, as well as speech and language therapy. The person with aphasia relearns and practices language skills and learns to use other ways to communicate. Family members often participate in the process, helping the person communicate.
A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled burst of electrical activity in the brain. It can cause changes in behaviour, movements, feelings and levels of consciousness. Having two or more seizures at least 24 hours apart that don't have a known cause is considered to be epilepsy.
There are many types of seizures, and they have a range of symptoms and severity. Seizure types vary by where they begin in the brain and how far they spread. Most seizures last from 30 seconds to two minutes. A seizure that lasts longer than five minutes is a medical emergency.
Seizures can happen after a stroke or a head injury. They also may be caused by an infection such as meningitis or another illness. Many times, though, the cause is unknown.
Most seizure disorders can be controlled with medicine.
Seizures that appear to involve all areas of the brain from the time they start are called generalized seizures. Different types of generalized seizures include:
A migraine is a headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.
For some people, a warning symptom known as an aura occurs before or with the headache. An aura can include visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or blind spots, or other disturbances, such as tingling on one side of the face or in an arm or leg and difficulty speaking.
Medications can help prevent some migraines and make them less painful.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves. Symptoms start slowly. The first symptom may be a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder may also cause stiffness or slowing of movement.
Parkinson's signs and symptoms may include:
An ischemic stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes.
A stroke is a medical emergency and prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can reduce brain damage and other complications.
Signs and symptoms of stroke include:
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