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Yes, Alzheimer's disease usually worsens slowly. But its speed of progression varies, depending on a person's genetic makeup, environmental factors, age at diagnosis and other medical conditions.
Still, anyone diagnosed with Alzheimer's whose symptoms seem to be progressing quickly — or who experiences a sudden decline — should see his or her doctor. The doctor will look for complicating conditions or factors that can cause a rapid — but possibly reversible — progression of symptoms in someone with Alzheimer's disease. The doctor will also make sure that other causes of rapidly progressive dementia are excluded.
Such conditions and factors could include:
Seek a prompt and thorough medical evaluation to determine the exact cause of rapidly progressing symptoms. Additional treatment may be required, and it may be possible to reduce or reverse symptoms.
Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D.
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