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Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Alzheimer's Disease & Related Dementias Program - Alzheimer's Disease

Senior couple walking outsideAlzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia and is a progressive disease that affects the parts of the brain controlling thought, memories and emotions.  Beginning with mild memory loss, Alzheimer’s can worsen and destroy the ability to have a conversation, respond to the environment or carry out activities of daily living.  Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases and is ultimately fatal.  There are approximately 66,000 Iowans living with this disease as of 2020.

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging.  Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs of cognitive loss and are always worth getting checked by a doctor.  If you or someone you know has several of the signs listed below, it does not necessarily mean that Alzheimer’s disease is the cause.  However, one should talk with a health care provider when experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality


2021 Alzheimer's Facts and Figures Sheet (PDF)

2021 Alzheimer's Facts and Figures Infographic (PDF)

Alzheimer's Disease in Iowa (PDF)

Alzheimer's, Dementia and Public Health Webinar

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, and its prevalence is growing. More than five million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s, but that number is expected to triple by 2050. This program highlights the growing focus of Alzheimer’s and dementia in public health; what causes memory loss; what the latest research shows in our fight against these conditions; what can be done to decrease one’s risk; what resources exist and what the Iowa Department of Public Health is doing to help.

Clipboard encouraging you to talk to your doctor if you have memory loss symptoms

Source: CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention