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?

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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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High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
Low fat diets
A complete list of low-fat diets and how to follow them Low-fat diets help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it works only with regular exercise and…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
The Shepherd's diet
Facts about the Shepherd’s diet Kristina Wilds promoted Shepherd's diet, a Christian-based diet that highlights Jesus Christ's diet as mentioned in the Bible.
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…
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
stress adverse effects
Fight, flight, or freeze: 8 ways stress can ruin your body Did you know that stress is in-built in our systems? It helped our ancestors respond to danger. How…
Ezekiel Bread: How to make the “world’s healthiest bread” in your own kitchen Learn more about Ezekiel bread - a bread belonging to the biblical time and containing the secrets to…
antichlamydia antibody Igm
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody IgM Anti-Chlamydia antibody IgM an automated ELISA-based blood examination evaluates and measures IgM antibodies against Chlamydia infection.
buckwheat in a jar
Buckwheat: Instant health benefits of adding this super healthy grain in your diet  Buckwheat is a type of plant product in the form of a grain which is used to make…
The dangers of having insufficient digestive enzymes (and how to pump these naturally) Digestive enzymes are compounds in your GI tract that help you digest food properly and also in the…
Rick Simpson’s Oil: The truths and controversies of this cannabis product Rick Simpson's Oil is an extract from the much-controversial plant, Cannabis. What is the actual truth behind the…
Strep throat pain
Tonsillectomy: When do you actually need to get your tonsil glands removed? Tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of tonsil glands. Why does one need to undergo this surgery and what…
Ear infections check up
Troubled with ear infections? Find easy and instant home remedies here Ear infections are common in both children and adults and may lead to hearing loss if left untreated.…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
cytomegalovirus iGG
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)- IgG Test The cytomegalovirus IgG is the immunoglobulin protein produced by our immune system when the body is infected by…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
Turner syndrome and infertility
Infertility profile (women) The infertility profile tests in women are conducted to form a complete picture of the hormonal balance and…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
working mom with kids
Practical Motherhood Tips for Working Women Check out these effective tips for working mothers to manage motherhood and work life. Raise your children easily…
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…
Miracle extract from the root of maca: 10 ways it can help you! Maca root has been used for years in herbal medicine. Today scientific research is unearthing fresh evidence in…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
diagnosis of lipoma
Lipoma Click to know all about lipoma, its causes, types, risks, diagnosis , and treatment of this non-cancerous tumor
diagnosis of lipoma
Lipoma Click to know all about lipoma, its causes, types, risks, diagnosis , and treatment of this non-cancerous tumor
Hydrocele
Hydrocele Hydroceles occur when fluids accumulate in the male scrotum. They may not be a major health problem but…
CHIKUNGUNYA IgM
Chikungunya-IgM Test Chikungunya-IgM is a blood test that is used to check the elevated levels of the IgM antibodies associated…
Tattoo Aftercare: The best practices to follow once you get inked Planning getting permanently inked? Make sure you follow these critical tattoo aftercare techniques to avoid infectious agents attacking…
beta alanine energy powder
Beta-alanine: A powerhouse of proteins to charge up your workout How can a simple amino acid be a crucial health supplement for champion athletes? Find out how you…
The most effective tips on how to stay awake at work Do you often find yourself snoozing off at your work desk? This might be a sign of sleep…
The most effective tips on how to stay awake at work Do you often find yourself snoozing off at your work desk? This might be a sign of sleep…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
Isagenix diet
Isagenix Diet: Do you really need liquid meal replacements to lose weight? Isagenix Diet - What are liquid meal replacements and why is the world going ga-ga over them? Are…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
creatinine
Creatinine Test The level of creatinine in the blood is a significant indicator of the health of your kidneys. This…

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