Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s patient

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview

Old age is associated with many disorders. One such disorder where the memory and brain function is affected is Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia that affects one’s thinking, memory, and behavior. Initially, the disorder had mild symptoms but progressively worsens. As stated in Alzheimer’s Association, one in every nine adults over the age 65 is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It also states 61% of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s are expected to die by the age of 70 as opposed to the 30% who are not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Definition of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s diseaseAlzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that progressively destroys one’s memory, language, and ability to think and carry out daily activities.

Typically, the first sign of Alzheimer’s occurs at the age of 65, but Alzheimer’s can also occur as early as in one’s 40s and 50s. When affected by this disease, proteins build up in the brain to form plaques and tangles.

This leads to the death of nerve cells which disrupts the behavior of brain functionality.

What causes Alzheimer’s?

The primary cause of Alzheimer’s of the death of brain cells. Though research does not conclusively prove the cause of Alzheimer’s, early-onset Alzheimer’s is said to be genetic while late-onset Alzheimer’s is caused by a combination of factors. These factors are environmental, based on genetics and lifestyle choices. Along with imbalance in the chemical called acetylcholine, plaques and tangles also cause Alzheimer’s.

  • Plaques: The formation of the protein beta-amyloid in the brain causes the death of brain cells and thus, disrupting cell-to-cell interactions.
  • Tangles: Brains cells interact with each other through the structure and functioning of the protein tau. These interactions are necessary for transport of nutrients and other essential materials. Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are observed to have irregular twists in their brain cells which affect them in the internal support system. The scientific term for these tangles is neurofibrillary tangles.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s patientAlzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease. Early symptoms are often left unnoticed and undiagnosed, but with time the symptoms are more evident.

  • Memory loss to an extent where daily activities are disturbed
  • Emotional problems
  • Judgment is impaired
  • Difficulty carrying out simple and familiar tasks
  • Forgetfulness – Especially when one doesn’t remember directions or loses track of the date
  • Wandering aimlessly
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Difficulty recognizing near and dear ones
  • Insomnia / Increased sleeping
  • Constantly seeking isolation

Once symptoms are observed, it is important to get a thorough diagnosis immediately. The earlier the treatment is started, the lesser will be the deterioration of the quality of life.

Types of Alzheimer’s

Though those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will generally have the same symptoms and long-term effects, doctors have categorized Alzheimer’s into three types.

  • Early-onset Alzheimer’s – Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 40-50.
  • Late-onset Alzheimer’s – The most commonly observed form of Alzheimer’s which is diagnosed in people at the age of 65 and above.
  • Familial Alzheimer’s Disease (FAD) – This form is linked to genetics. WebMD states that those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have members of at least 2 generations being diagnosed with the disease. The FAD is extremely rare and only 1% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have a FAD.

Long-term effects of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s take a heavy toll on the brain and the body and though research is ongoing, no cure has been found to shun the aftermath of Alzheimer’s. Progressive deterioration of memory is the chief long-term effect of Alzheimer’s which leads to death. Healthline states that the average life expectancy of those suffering from Alzheimer’s is 10 years. It is not conclusively proven if treatment can help prolong the life of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. However, when diagnosed at an early stage, the quality of life doesn’t drastically deteriorate.

Vulnerable Groups

There are a lot of reasons that aggravate the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. People who are diagnosed with or those facing the following problems are also at a risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

  • Down’s syndrome
  • Old age
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Gender – Mayo Clinic states that women are more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s because they live longer.
  • Head injuries
  • Family members being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Genetics of Alzheimer’s

Genetics is one of the chief contributions to being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The chromosomes 21, 14 and 1 along with amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene, presenilin-1 (PS-1) gene, and presenilin-2 (PS-2) gene are linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s. Mutation of these chromosomes and genes cause excessive production of peptide A beta 42. This peptide causes plaques in the brain which is observed in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s.The exact gene contributing to late-onset Alzheimer’s is not determined, apolipoprotein E locus (APOE) is the gene that is often linked to the cause.

Diagnosis

Because the root cause of Alzheimer’s is not determined, there is no one test that can convincingly say a person has the disease. A thorough medical assessment is required to give the diagnosis. One has to undergo neuropsychological and physical tests that’ll help identify behavioral changes and memory loss. Tests like computerized tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan are conducted to observe possible brain damage caused by the disease.

Treatment and prevention

Alzheimer’s pillsTreatment 

  • Certain medications to produce a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine are prescribed to help reduce the symptoms of agitation and depression. The improvement in the symptoms is on a slight to a moderate level.
  • At times antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are also prescribed to help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
  • Exercise helps in elevating the mood of the patient who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Going for a walk can help them get peaceful sleep.
  • Those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s may forget to eat or drink water. This is why caregivers must make sure that they give them their meals, water, juices and other necessary nutrients to prevent dehydration and malnutrition.
  • Ensuring that the Alzheimer’s patient is comfortable and does not panic as much is important. This is why their caregivers must take certain steps to make sure that they do not find day-to-day activities as difficult. Measures such as – keeping things in the exact same place as they once were, making sure that there are sturdy handrails along the stairs and in the washrooms, reducing the number of mirrors in the house as the Alzheimer’s patient are helpful.

Prevention – There are no guaranteed preventive measures against Alzheimer’s. One can still reduce his/her chances of developing Alzheimer’s by following these healthy lifestyle and dietary habits:

  • Consume a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These are found in tuna, salmon, and nuts.
  • Regular exercising is important in maintaining healthy cognitive abilities.
  • Healthy mental stimulations such as reading, learning a musical instrument, and solving puzzles especially if you are aging can be helpful.
  • Studies suggest that stress reduction and healthy levels of social engagement can also help in keeping Alzheimer’s at a bay.
  • Getting quality sleep is also a significant factor in ensuring that one doesn’t develop neurodegenerative diseases.

TL;DR?

Facts

  • Alzheimer’s was first noticed in 1906 by a German doctor named Alois Alzheimer. He noticed this condition in a patient named Auguste D.
  • This condition is the most common form of dementia.

Facts

  • Alzheimer’s is most common in Western European countries. However, its prevalence is gradually increasing in sub-Saharan African regions too.
  • It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

Facts

  • 1 in every 10 individuals above the age of 65 has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the United States.
  • This condition is more common among women. Approximately 2/3rd of the patients of Alzheimer’s are women.

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Make sure that you are polite and not aggressive in any way, as they are already confused and may find it difficult to converse.
  • Introduce yourself every time you pay them a visit, as this will help them become more comfortable and open up.
  • Let them talk and finish what they have to say, this helps them express their thought and feelings.
Don'ts
  • Ask them if they remember something or not, this may tend to hurt their feelings and cause further confusion.
  • Take their negative remarks personally, the disease tends to make what they have to say sound rude, mean or angry when they did not intend on sounding that way.
  • Talk about them around other people as though they are not around, this may tend to cause confusion and hurt their feelings.

 

 

 

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Pilonidal sinus Pilonidal sinus is more common in young men than women. Learn about treatment options, surgical management, risks, and…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
Ear pain model
Easy and safe tips for ear wax removal you can do at home Cerumen impaction generally occurs when an external object like cotton swabs are used to remove the ear wax.…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
CBC blood test
CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test refers to the test that measures the number of RBCs, WBCs, etc…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
PROGESTERONE_test
Progesterone test The progesterone test is a blood test used to determine the level of hormone progesterone in the blood…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
Bone marrow aspiration Bone marrow aspiration is a process where a sample of the bone marrow is withdrawn from the bone…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Sushi: health benefits and recipes Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish prepared with vinegared rice served with fish (often raw), vegetables, and other…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…