KUSA – The Broncos' community has been hit hard with Alzheimer's disease this week. Owner Pat Bowlen stepped down to focus on his health and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas just lost his grandmother to the disease.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease is a cognitive disease that affects the memory, thinking and behavior of over five million Americans, is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and approximately 500,000 people each year die from the disease.

"In Alzheimer's disease nerve cells are lost," said University of Colorado Hospital's Dr. Jonathan Woodcock. "As these symptoms happen, people have problems with memory, with judgment, difficulties recognizing things that have been familiar to them in the past and trouble with recognition visually."

Dr. Woodcock specializes in the memory and dementia clinic. He is working to help people cope with Alzheimer's disease.

"People gradually lose the sense of who they are and the sense of their relationships," Dr. Woodcock said. "There is nothing that prevents Alzheimer's disease and there's nothing that cures Alzheimer's disease."

Dr. Woodcock is focusing one three things with his research.

"Recognize people who are at risk for Alzheimer's, prevent Alzheimer's from occurring and cure Alzheimer's."

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