Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to dementia. It is characterized by the accumulation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, which disrupts normal neurotransmission.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s are caused by changes in the brain, not just by age.
The disease can be diagnosed with a battery of tests that measure memory loss, thinking skills, language skills, and other functions. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s but some medications may temporarily improve symptoms or slow its progression.
- What are the Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease?
- What are the symptoms to look out for Someone With Alzheimer’s Disease?
- What are the stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?
- Taking Care of Someone With Alzheimer’s or Other Memory Diseases.
What are the Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease?
According to current theories, the abnormal protein buildup in and around brain cells is what causes Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid is one of the proteins involved, and deposits of it create plaques surrounding brain cells.
The other protein is tau, which builds up inside brain cells to create tangles. Scientists now know that this process starts several years before symptoms manifest, even if the exact reason is unknown.
The chemical messengers (known as neurotransmitters) used to communicate or convey signals between brain cells decline when brain cells are damaged. The brains of those who have Alzheimer’s disease have notably low levels of one neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.
Different parts of the brain diminish throughout time. Memory-related regions are frequently the first to be damaged. Different parts of the brain are damaged in more uncommon types of Alzheimer’s disease.
Memory issues may not be the initial symptoms, but rather issues with vision or language.
What are the symptoms to look out for Someone With Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. These symptoms are caused by changes in the brain that lead to loss of nerve cells and can’t be cured.
1. Memory loss that affects day-to-day abilities
It’s common to periodically forget phone numbers, appointments, or the names of coworkers before remembering them moments later. However, a person with dementia may forget things more frequently or may struggle to remember information they have just acquired.
2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks
Sometimes busy people might get so preoccupied that they forget to serve a portion of a meal, only to recollect it afterwards. However, a person with dementia could struggle to finish an activity that they have been doing their entire life, like cooking a meal or playing a game.
3. Problems with language
Anyone can struggle to come up with the perfect phrase to convey their thoughts. However, a person with dementia may forget basic terms or use word substitutions that make it hard to comprehend what they are saying.
4. Disorientation to time and place
Have you ever lost track of the day of the week or the reason you entered your bedroom? To everyone of us, it occurs. Dementia sufferers can become lost on their own street, unsure of how they got there or how to go back home.
5. Impaired judgment
People occasionally make dubious choices, such as delaying visiting a doctor while they are feeling unwell. A person who has dementia, however, may face changes in judgement or decision-making, such as failing to recognise a medical issue that requires treatment or dressing in bulky clothing on a hot day.
6. Problems with abstract thinking
People occasionally can struggle to do activities that call for abstract thought, such using a calculator. However, due to a loss of comprehension of what numbers are and how they are used, a person with dementia may struggle greatly with such activities.
7. Changes in mood and behavior
Anyone can experience occasional sadness or irritability. However, a person with dementia may experience sudden mood changes, ranging from tranquilly to crying to fury.
8. Changes in personality
Over time, personalities can shift gradually. A person who has dementia, however, may go through more pronounced personality changes and might seem confused, distrustful, or introverted. Other alterations might include a loss of interest or anxiety.
9. Loss of initiative
It’s common to get tired of doing chores around the house, going about your job, or attending social events, but most individuals bounce back. A person with dementia, however, may turn passive and uninterested and need signs and prodding to get engaged.
10. Misplacing things
Anybody can mistakenly lose their wallet or keys. A person with dementia, however, could store objects in strange locations. For instance, a shoe in the oven.
What are the stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?
There are various stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and it is important to know which stage you or your loved one is in in order to plan for the future.
Also known as pre-dementia, is when people may experience memory lapses and difficulties in concentration.
This stage is also known as mild cognitive impairment. This is when people may start to experience more severe memory problems. MCI can be a warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease because it often leads to dementia.
The third stage or moderate cognitive impairment is when people will have trouble remembering things that they should easily remember like the names of family members or where they put their keys.
The early stages of Alzheimer’s disease are often unnoticeable and can occur at any age. Even though they can be embarrassing for those affected, Alzheimer’s disease does not cause anyone to feel threatened.
Taking Care of Someone With Alzheimer’s or Other Memory Diseases.
You and your family might find it increasingly challenging to care for your loved one at home as Alzheimer’s disease worsens. Keep in mind that people with Alzheimer’s and memory loss can get specialized treatment. Before getting ready to start professional Alzheimer’s care, you can try to prepare ahead and talk with your loved one about desired care and financial possibilities.