What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological condition that causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to die that causes problems with thinking, behavior, and ability to perform every day’s task. It is associated with a build-up of certain proteins and chemicals in the brain. Alzheimer’s disease affects the most important parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. Also, it seriously affects a person’s ability of daily tasks.
Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
- It causes atrophy of the posterior part of the brain.
- Also, abnormal deposits of proteins that damages and destroys brain cells.
Factors that increase the risk of developing the conditions are
- Family history and genetics
- Down syndrome
- Head injuries
- Past head trauma
- Mild cognitive impairment
Symptoms of Alzheimer
Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary from age to age and person to person. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s may be mild at an early age but get worse in old age. Alzheimer’s disease progress in several stages- mild stage, moderate stage, and last stage.
Mild Stage- In the mild stage of Alzheimer’s a person seems to be healthy but has more and more trouble making sense of the world. A person started realizing that something is wrong around his / her. Some common symptoms are-
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment leading to bad decisions
- In addition, taking time to complete normal daily task
- Repeating questions
- Also, trouble to handle money and paying bills
- Losing and misplacing things
- Mood and personality changes
- Plus, increased anxiety or aggression
Moderate Stage- More intensive supervision and care are necessary for this stage, which is difficult for some families. Symptoms may include-
- Confusion and memory loss increased
- In addition, difficulty with language. A person may feel problems in reading, writing, and working with numbers.
- Difficulty in organizing thoughts and thinking logically.
- Problems coping with new situations.
- The problem is in recognizing family members and friends.
- Hallucinations and delusions.
- Inappropriate bursting of anger.
- Repetitive statements or movements, occasional muscle twitches.
Last Stage- People with severe Alzheimer’s lose their ability to communicate with others and depend on others for their care. So the symptoms may include-
- Inability to communicate properly
- Also, Seizures
- Skin Infections
- Difficulty in Swallowing
- In addition, groaning, moaning and grunting
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease
Physical Examination- Reflexes, ability to get up from the chair and walk across the room, muscle tone, and strength are checked for the patients.
Neurological Examination- So, in this check for the sense of sight and hearing, coordination and balance have to be done.
Complete blood count (CBC)- In addition, this test includes liver functions, folate test, Vitamin B12 concentration, electrolyte, and blood glucose levels, thyroid functions test, and HIV tests.
CT Scan- The severity of brain degeneration is checked by CT Scan.
MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)- It provides more detailed aspects of the brain like the presence of tumor or nerve damage etc.
EEG- Also helps to find abnormal brain wave activity.
PET ( Positron emission tomography )- This test identifies proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
Treatment includes focusing on maintaining the mental functions, behavioral changes, and slow or delay the disease progression.
Medication- AChE inhibitors are the drug that compensates for the death of cholinergic neurons. So, they make relieve themselves by inhibiting ACh and restoring their synaptic levels.
- Adapting the situations to the need of an Alzheimer’s patient plays a very important role in the treatment plan.
- Create a safe and supportive environment.
- Keys, wallets, mobile phones, and other valuable things should be placed at the same place at home.
- Use a calendar, whiteboard to schedule the daily tasks.
- Exercise and a healthy diet.
- Helping people maintain brain health.
Specialist to consult- The family of the patient should consult a Neurologist, Psychiatrist, Psychologist for the better treatment and recovery of the patients.
Preventions of Alzheimer’s Disease
Manage your numbers- One should be updated with the checkups of his / her blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. In a study, it is shown that these three factors are responsible for Alzheimer’s.
Check your weight- If you are losing weight regularly, you should consult a doctor. Also, a study found that obesity can change the brain in a way that raises the chances of Alzheimer’s.
Exercise regularly- Exercise is effective not only for Alzheimer’s but it helps to cure many diseases as well. So, it plays a very important role in Alzheimer’s disease also.
Challenge your mind- You should challenge your mind with new challenges every day. That will help in retaining the memory and it is also a good exercise for the brain.
Don’t Smoke- Quit smoking. Avoid all forms of tobacco.
Healthy Diet- Fruits and green vegetables should be added to the diet as they are rich in fiber and are considered in a good diet itself. Also, limit saturated fat, added sugars, carbs, sodium, and alcohol.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder and is also known as an incurable disease. To conclude, there is a hope that early diagnosis, knowledge about the disease stages with support of the family and the patient, effective symptomatic drugs will have a great impact on the number of persons affected in the future, and the quality of life. In addition, the knowledge about the disease is not only helpful for the affected people but their caretakers also. So, taking high doses of vitamins as treatment can be deadly and can interfere with other medications negatively. Also, the family members of the patient must be patient.