ALZHEIMER DISEASE- SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, AND PREVENTION.

Everything You Need To Know About Alzheimer Disease

ALZHEIMER DISEASE- SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, AND PREVENTION.

Published on Sep 22, 2020

ALZHEIMER DISEASE- SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, AND PREVENTION.


Overview

Alzheimer disease can be defined as the most common type of dementia. Dementia can be defined as a reduction in thinking skills, how a person behaves and social skills. It leads to an individual’s ability to function. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that leads to degeneration of brain cells which eventually leads to the death of the brain cells.

At the beginning of the disease, the individual might forget recent conversations and events, but as it further progresses, it can get as bad as the individuals being unable to carry out basic everyday activities.

There are currently medications that can be taken for this disease which can slow down the progress of the disease. It helps the patients best maximise full function. There are different programs available to help support the people with this disease.

There is currently no treatment for this disease and only medications to slow down the process of the degeneration of the brain cells.

Symptoms

The most common and first sign of Alzheimer disease is the memory loss experienced by the patients. Forgetting events and conversations can be a key indicator of this disease. As the patient gets worse, the disease develops and the memory of the patient becomes worse and other symptoms like inability to carry out task for oneself.

At first, the patient suffering from this disease might be able to detect his/her own memory lapses, but with time, the symptoms worsen. Changes in the brain that can be associated with Alzheimer disease are:

  1. Memory: everyone can forget one or two things from time to time, but when a person forgets conversations or even ever having had them, misplacing belongings, repeating the same thing numerous times, then this can be a sign of the early stages of Alzheimer disease.
  2. Thinking and reasoning: inability to focus thoughts, multitask or do things with numbers appropriately especially when one could do these things before could be a sign of Alzheimer disease.
  3. Making judgments and decisions:  a decline is usually seen in the ability of an Alzheimer patient to make decisions.
  4. Planning and performing familiar tasks: as the disease progresses, a decline in the patients ability to plan and perform tasks can be seen.
  5. Changes in personality and behaviour: Alzheimer disease can lead to changes in the patient’s behaviour such as a lack of trust for loved one and friends, depression, apathy, the patient acting withdrawn and secluded, social awkwardness, etc.

Causes

The exact nature of the disease is not fully understood yet and as a result, no real cure has been found yet. The cause of the disease is believed to be a combination of different factors such as genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle changes that affect the brain over a period of time.

Risk factors

Some of the risk factors are:

  1. Age- studies have shown that the likelihood of developing Alzheimer disease increases with age. So, the older an individual gets, the more likely it is to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
  2. Family history and genetics – genetics can affect the likelihood of developing this disease as early on as middle age.
  3. Down Syndrome – people with down syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21 which leads to a production of three copies of beta-amyloid, this leads to an increase in the likelihood of patients with down syndrome to develop Alzheimer’s disease ten to twenty years younger.
  4. Past head trauma – people that have had a severe trauma to the head in earlier times stand a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the latter years of their lives.
  5. Poor sleep patterns – research has shown that the majority of Alzheimer patients had poor sleeping patterns as have as such linked it as a possible cause for the disease.
  6. Level of education and lifelong learning - studies have shown that lifelong learners are less likely to develop this disease than those that do not put in effort into learning.

Complications

When a patient has this disease, he or she becomes incapable of expressing himself or herself when in pain, cannot fully describe the symptoms being felt or if he or she is in pain, experiences loss in memory, cannot make good judgement, etc.

As the disease progresses to the last stages, physical functions are also affected.

Prevention

Alzheimer disease cannot be prevented but it is advised to have healthy life habits such as eating properly and exercising regularly.