Physical Changes to Expect with Alzheimer's

Which symptoms you have and when they appear are different for everyone.

Loss of Balance or Coordination

Stiff Muscles

Feet that Shuffle or Drag when you Walk

Trouble Standing or Sitting up in a Chair

Weak Muscles and Fatigue

When or How much you Sleep

Trouble Controlling your Bladder or Bowels

Seizures and Uncontrollable Twitches

What Alzheimer's Does to Your Body

Most people know Alzheimer's disease affects the memory. But the symptoms can be physical as well as mental.

It can change the way you walk, talk, and how your body works. It’s important to be aware of what can happen as the disease progresses. This will help you stay ahead of the changes you and your loved ones may face.

The Brain and Body Connection

Though the cause of Alzheimer’s is not known, doctors think the symptoms of the disease are caused by a buildup of harmful proteins in your brain called amyloid. These proteins form large clumps, called tangles and plaques. They get in the way of normal brain function and kill healthy cells.

The damage usually starts in the area of your brain that forms memories. People with early-stage Alzheimer's disease often have trouble remembering things. As the disease gets worse, the plaques and clusters also appear in the parts of the brain in charge of bodily behaviors.

Everyday activities like walking, eating, going to the bathroom, and talking become harder.

The effects of the disease will differ for each person as it gets worse. The pace can be slow. Some people live up to 20 years after a diagnosis. The average life expectancy, though, is 4 to 8 years.