Alzheimer’s Disease Definition
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that reasons brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die. It is the most common cause of dementia, a continual decline in thinking, behavioral, and social skills that impairs a person’s ability to function independently.
Current medications for Alzheimer’s disease may temporarily improve symptoms or slow the rate of decline inabilities.
Sometimes these treatments can aid people with Alzheimer’s disease to maximize function and maintain independence for a time. Different programs and services can help people with Alzheimer’s disease and those responsible for their care.
What are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?
Memory loss is a crucial symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. One of the early signs of the disease is often difficulty remembering recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, memory disturbances worsen, and other symptoms develop.
At first, the Alzheimer’s patient may be aware of the difficulty in remembering things and organizing thoughts. A family participant or friend is more likely to notice worsening symptoms.
Brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease cause increasing difficulties with the following:
Everyone has occasional memory lapses. It is usual to forget where you put the keys or the name of an acquaintance. However, the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease persists and worsens, affecting the ability to function at work or home.
People with Alzheimer’s can:
- Repeat expressions and questions over and over.
- Forgetting conversations, turns, or events, and not remembering them later.
- Habitually losing possessions, often when they are put in illogical places.
- Get lost in familiar places.
- Eventually, overlook the names of family members and everyday objects.
- Have trouble finding the right words to classify objects, express thoughts, or participate in conversations.
2. Thought and Reasoning
- Alzheimer’s disease makes it hard to concentrate and think, especially with abstract concepts such as numbers.
- Multitasking is complicated, and managing finances, balancing checkbooks, and paying bills on time can be complicated.
- These difficulties can evolve into an inability to recognize and deal with numbers.
3. Make Assessments and Decisions
- The ability to arrive at reasonable decisions and opinions in everyday situations will decrease.
- For example, the person may make poor decisions or have inappropriate attitudes in social interactions, or wear inappropriate clothing for the weather.
- It can be more difficult to respond effectively to everyday difficulties, such as when food burns or something unexpected happens while driving.
4. Plan and do Family Activities
- With the disease’s progression, activities that, at some point, were part of the routine.
- It required the follow-up of sequential steps, such as planning and preparing a meal or playing a favorite game, become a difficulty.
- Over time, people with advanced Alzheimer’s disease may forget how to perform basic tasks, such as dressing and bathing.
5. Changes in Personality and Behavior
The brain changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease can affect mood and behavior. Problems can include the following:
- Social isolation
- Humor changes.
- Mistrust in others
- Irritability and aggressiveness
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Loss of inhibition
- Delusions, like believing that you rob.
6. Preserved Skills
- Many critical skills are preserved for long periods, even as symptoms get worse.
- Preserved skills may contain reading or listening to books, compelling stories, and remembering, singing, listening to music, dancing, drawing, or doing crafts.
- These abilities can preserve longer because they control a part of the brain affected later in the disease.
What are the Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease?
- Alzheimer’s disease originates from a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that touch the brain over time.
- Less than 1 percent of the time, it is the product of specific genetic changes that virtually guarantee that a person will grow the disease. These rare cases usually lead to the onset of the disease in middle age.
- The exact causes are not fully understood, but at their core are problems with brain proteins that do not function normally, disrupt brain cells’ work (neurons), and trigger a series of toxic events. Neurons damage, loose connections to each other, and eventually die.
- Damage most often begins in the brain region that controls memory, but the process begins years before the first symptoms appear.
- The damage of neurons spreads in a somewhat expectable pattern to other regions of the brain. In the late step of the disease, the brain has shrunk significantly.
- The researchers focus on the incidence of two proteins:
- Beta-amyloid is a residual fragment of a larger protein.
- When these fragments clump together, they appear to have a toxic effect on neurons and disrupt communication between cells.
- These clumps form more massive deposits called amyloid plaques, which also include other cellular debris.
- Tau proteins play a role in the inner support and transport system to carry nutrients and other vital materials.
- In this, tau proteins change shape and organize themselves into structures called neurofibrillary tangles.
- The tangles upset the transport system and are toxic to cells.
Risk Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Advancing age is the most significant known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is not part of normal aging, but as you get older, the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases.
- For example, found that annually there were 2 new diagnoses for every 1,000 people aged 65 to 74, 11 new diagnoses for every 1,000 people aged 75 to 84, and 37 new diagnoses for every 1,000 people aged 85 and over.
2. Family History and Genetics
- The risk of Alzheimer’s is slightly higher if a first-degree relative (your parents or siblings) has the disease.
- Most of the genetic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s in families are mostly unexplained, and the genetic factors are likely complex.
- A genetic factor that is better understood is a form of the apolipoprotein E gene.
- One variation of the gene, APOE e4, increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but not all people with this variation develop the disease.
- Scientists have identified strange changes (mutations) in three genes, which practically guarantee that the person who inherits one of these genes will develop the disease.
- But these gene mutations make up less than 1% of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Down’s Syndrome
- Many people with Down syndrome develop it.
- It is probably related to having three copies of chromosome 21 and three copies of the gene for the protein that leads to beta-amyloid.
- The signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease usually appear 10 to 20 years earlier in people with Down syndrome than in people in the general population.
- There seems to be little difference in risk between men and women, but overall, more women have the disease as they tend to live longer than men.
5. Mild Cognitive Impairment
- Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) decreases memory or other thinking skills higher than what one would expect at a certain age.
- However, this decrease does not prevent the person from functioning in work or social settings.
- People with MCI are at serious risk of developing dementia. When the primary deficit of MCI is memory, the disease is more likely to progress to dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.
- A diagnosis of MCI allows the person to focus on healthy lifestyle variations, grow strategies to compensate for memory loss, and calendar regular doctor visits to manage symptoms.
6. Head Trauma in the Past
- People who have suffered severe trauma are at higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Poor Sleep Patterns
- Poor sleep patterns, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
8. Lifestyle and Heart Health
The same risk factors related to heart disease can also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Some of them are the following:
- Lack of exercise
- Smoking or second-hand smoke
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes
All of these factors can modify. Therefore, changing lifestyle habits can, to some extent, change your risk. For example, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet low in fat and rich in fruits and vegetables associate with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Permanent Education and Participation in Social Activities
- According to the studies carried out, there is an association between permanent participation in mental and social stimulation activities and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Low educational levels, below secondary education, appear to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
Complications of Alzheimer’s Disease
Loss of memory and language, impaired judgment, and other cognitive changes caused by Alzheimer’s disease can complicate the treatment of other illnesses.
A person with it may not be wise to do the following:
- Express that you feel pain, such as that produced by a dental problem
- Report symptoms of another illness
- Follow an indicated treatment plan.
- Noticing or describing the side effects of medications
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses into the later stages, changes in the brain begin to affect physical functions, such as swallowing, balance, bowel, and bladder control.
These effects can increase vulnerability to other health problems, such as the following:
- Inhaling food or liquids into the lungs (aspiration)
- Pneumonia and other infections
- Pressure sores
- Malnutrition and dehydration
Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is not a preventable disorder. However, several lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer’s can modify.
Evidence indicates that changes in diet, exercise, and habits to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease can also lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that cause dementia.
Heart-healthy lifestyle choices that can reduce Alzheimer’s risk include the following:
- Perform physical exercises regularly.
- And also, eat a diet rich in fresh produce, healthy oils, and foods low in saturated fat.
- Follow treatment guidelines to control high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
- If you smoke, ask your doctor to aid you in quitting smoking.
Preserved thinking services later in life and lower risk is associated with joining in social events, reading, dancing, playing board games, making art, playing a tool, and other actions that require a mental and social commitment.
No treatment cures Alzheimer’s disease or alters the disease process in the brain.
In the progressive stages of the disease, severe brain function loss complications, such as dehydration, malnutrition, or infection, cause death.
When to See a Doctor
Some disorders, including treatable diseases, can cause memory loss or other symptoms of dementia.
If you are anxious about your memory or other reasoning skills, speak with your doctor for a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis.
If you are concerned about the reasoning skills you observe in a family member or friend, talk about your concerns and ask them to go to a doctor’s appointment together.
Exercise doesn’t just help Alzheimer’s symptoms but may also slow brain degeneration associated with the disease.
It was also a specifically aerobic exercise that appeared to slow shrinkage of a part of the brain involved in memory.
Experts say dementia isn’t a normal part of aging, and by following recommendations like exercise, a healthy diet, and managing blood pressure, we can significantly reduce the risk.