Alzheimer’s disease is regarded as the most common type of dementia. The disease was initially observed by a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and is named after him. Alzheimer’s disease is an incorrigible neurodegenerative condition generally occurring in individuals above 65 years of age however cases with early onset of the disease are not uncommon.
AAlzheimer’s report presented in 2006 stated that about 26.6 million individuals are affected by this neurodegenerative disease. The symptoms of this disorder are though inimitable for every individual however there are various symptoms which are common. The first symptoms of the disease are loss of the capability to form new memories and inability to remember current events.
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease depends on cognitive tests and brain scan. As the disease progresses the individual exhibits the symptoms of confusion, irritability, aggression, mood fluctuations, language problems and finally long-term memory loss. The vivacious functions of body fail to function and death is the decisive fate. Less than 3% percent live for about fourteen years after the diagnosis of the disease.
Alzheimer’s is a dreadful diagnosis, impacting not just the afflicted, but all those related to that person. It is feared because of its debilitating nature, resulting in a steady decline of mental faculties, while the body continues to support life. This enables someone to be physically alive, while not being conscious of their environment, able to take care of themselves, or know and communicate with loved ones. This gradual decline can devastate families. The responsibilities of care giving can be too much to handle, and in many cases impossible to handle at home. This takes an emotional as well as physical toll on all involved.
Its prevalence is shocking, well over 5 million Americans age 65 and older, and about 200,000 with early-onset, are estimated to live with this disease. Current statistics reveal that 11% of those 65 and older, (one in nine) have Alzheimer’s disease. This increases to 32% of those ages 85 and older (near one-third). Statistics also show that women are two-thirds more prone to have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The reason for this is mostly unknown, yet the fact that on average, women are likely to live longer than men, could account for this larger proportion.
Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, which implies that the symptoms become worse over time. Language issues also are typical in people with Alzheimer’s disease. People with Alzheimer’s can lose their sense of time and place – they may, for instance, get dressed in the middle of the night or even walk off and get lost. New environment and new people may be confusing. The disease usually progresses to the stage where it is difficult for the patient to be understood by other people or to understand others, and in the final stages, the sufferer is bedridden.
Free radicals are another factor in the formation of tangles and plaques. Free radicals are extremely lively chemicals that form in the brain and damage brain cells. Chemicals referred to as antioxidants react with and destroy free radicals. Regrettably there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. However, drugs will help you to slow down the growth or relieve some symptoms and delay the need for domestic care. Other treatments and support are available.
Causes of Alzheimers Disease
The exect causes of alzheimers disease are presently not known. Alzheimer’s is caused by a loss of brain cells, as well as changes in the cerebral cortex. Free radicals are another factor in the creation of tangles and plaques.
Free radicals are very active chemicals that form in the brain and damage brain cells. Chemicals known as antioxidants react with and destroy free radicals. Another risk factor is heredity. People whose family members have had AD are more inclined to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those whose families lack this history. People who have hypothyroidism or have experienced head injuries are usually at relatively high risk for AD. Environmental factors have sometimes been suggested as possible causes for Alzheimers disease.
Symptoms of Alzheimers Disease
The initial symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. Memory loss on its own is not a sign that a person has Alzheimer’s disease. Some memory loss is a natural part of growing old. People with Alzheimer’s can lose their sense of time as well as place – they may, for instance, get dressed in the middle of the night or walk off and get lost. In early stages of the disease, family or friends may notice changes in behaviour. As the disease progresses, memory loss gets worse and some people have difficulty in learning new skills. Changes in behaviour may become more obvious, with people saying or doing things that are out of character. Some people become depressed because they realise what is happening to them. During the late stages of the disease, people with Alzheimer’s may become totally dependent on others for their care. Walking can become difficult and urinary incontinence may develop.