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Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Glossary of Alzheimer's Disease Terms

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Functional capabilities: What a person is able to do.

Gait: A person's manner of walking. People in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease often have a "reduced gait," which means their ability to lift their feet as they walk has diminished.

Gene: The basic unit of heredity found in all cells. Each gene occupies a certain location on a chromosome.

Genetic counseling: A process in which a genetic counselor obtains a complete family and personal medical history in order to determine the probable existence of a genetic problem occurring and reoccurring within a family.

Genetic susceptibility: The state of being more likely than the average person to develop a disease as the result of genetics.

Genetic testing: Certain tests that are ordered by a doctor who specializes in genetics so that the presence of genetic abnormalities may be discovered. For patients and families suspected of having an inherited disease, it may be possible to find the mutation causing the disease through genetic testing of blood.

Genome: All the genes of an organism.

Geriatrician: A doctor who specializes in the medical care and treatment of older adults.

Glucose: A simple sugar that is a major energy source for all cellular and bodily functions. Glucose is obtained through the breakdown, or metabolism, of food in the digestive system.

Guardian: An individual appointed by the courts who is authorized to make legal and financial decisions for another person.

Hallucination: A sensory experience in which a person sees, hears, smells, tastes, or feels something that is not there.

Hippocampus: A part of the brain that is important for learning and memory.

Hoarding: Collecting and putting things away in order to guard them.

Hospice: The philosophy and approach to providing comfort and care at life's end rather than heroic life-saving measures.

Huntington's disease: An inherited brain disease affecting the body that is characterized by mood changes, intellectual decline, and involuntary movement of limbs.

Immune system: The body's natural defense system against infection or disease; a system of cells that protects the body from bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other foreign substances.

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