Alzheimer’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Alzheimer’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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Alzheimer’s disease, commonly considered
as the disease of the older and aged population is a form of brain
disorder. This disease gravely affects the ability of the individual to
carry out his / her daily activities. Statistics have revealed an
alarming figure –as high as 496,000 individuals from United Kingdom fall
prey to this deadly disorder. It was also reported that about 26.6
million individuals across the globe are affected by Alzheimer’s.
Statisticians have pointed towards the fact that, if preventive measures
are not taken then by the year 2050, about 1 in every 85 people would
fall prey to this disease. Research has also shown that the chances of
developing this disease condition increase if there is a history of this
disease in the family.
Alzheimer’s
disease was first recognized in the year 1906 by psychiatrist and
neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer. Needless to mention, this disease has
been named after this renowned personality. Alzheimer’s disease is
basically a “progressive disease”. This means that the onset of this
disorder actually happens at a young age, but it begins to show effect
with age, when a person gets older. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of
dementia that slowly and gradually affects the memory of the individual
and also affects their behavior pattern. Individuals with this disorder
often find it difficult to recognize known faces and stumble in finding
the right words. The brain cells responsible for transmission of
messages are damaged which results in loss of memory and also hampers
one’s ability to carry out daily functions.
It
requires special mention that, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease
have certain brain chemicals missing. This and many other factors
predispose an individual to be affected with this deadly disease
condition. The symptoms of this disease can worsen over time if timely
initiation of treatment is not done. One must also understand that this
disease cannot be treated, but the symptoms can be effectively managed
with proper and timely treatment.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease:

The
symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease slowly progress over several years.
Common signs and symptoms of this brain disorder include the following:
  • Forgetfulness and disorientation
  • Experiencing difficulty in performing out daily activities and tasks
  • Problems in speech
  • Mood swings
  • Disturbance in sleep pattern
  • Urinary and or fecal incontinence
  • Weight loss
  • Loss in appetite
  • Difficulty in swallowing food
  • Increase in susceptibility to infection
  • Loss of short term memory as well as long term memory
  • Loss of self-consciousness
  • Have a suspicious feeling about others
  • Loss of interest in socializing
  • Habit of wandering
  • Living in one’s own world of delusions
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Alzheimer’s
disease is a brain disorder and therefore the symptoms primarily show
an effect on changes in the memory pattern. As the disease progresses,
the individuals tend to forget recent conversations and names of family
members and friends. Changes in one’s personality and behavior are yet
another aspect that is gravely affected by the disease. Patients
experience a great deal of difficulty in carrying out their daily tasks
such as drinking, eating, bathing and dressing.
Symptoms
of Alzheimer’s disease manifest in 3 different stages. Patients in the
third stage of the disease, fail to appropriately take care of their
personal hygiene and end up contracting various infections.
However,
it also requires mention that the medications and drugs prescribed for
these patients can also further worsen their existing symptoms. It is
therefore required that the doctor prescribe only those medications that
do not have any adverse side effects.

Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease:

The
exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is yet to be figured out. Research
studies are being carried out round the clock to dig out the causative
factors. However, scientists have postulated certain factors that can
lead an individual to develop this disease condition. It has to be
clearly understood that Alzheimer’s disease is the disease of the brain
and therefore there should be certain factors that play foul with the
functioning of the brain. Thus, in view of this fact, scientists have
found that the interplay of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors
can predispose an individual to develop this cognitive disorder. It has
also been postulated that genetic factors have only 5% chance of making
an individual fall prey to Alzheimer’s disease.
Research
done by scientists has also revealed that, in individuals with
Alzheimer’s disease, the brain cells undergo significant atrophy and as a
result of which the brain gradually shrinks in size. As the disease
progresses, more and more brain cells die giving rise to grave
irreversible changes. As the causative factors are not clearly
understood, one must understand that there are several risk factors that
can increase the chances of development of this disease in certain
individuals. The risk factors include:

Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease:

Alzheimer’s
disease cannot be cured; the symptoms can be effectively managed with a
good treatment regime. An appropriate blend of medications, changes in
lifestyle factors and care is necessary to delay the development of
cognitive changes. The various medications that are given to patients
with Alzheimer’s disease include the following:
  • Galantamine
  • Rivastigmine
  • Doneprezil
  • Memantine
These
medications are prescribed depending on the severity of the condition.
However, one needs to understand that the medicines should not be taken
without doctor’s advice. It addition, one must also realize that
patients with Alzheimer’s require love and affection of caregivers. This
will enable them to cope with the symptoms with much more ease.
Regular
exercising is also an important part of the treatment regime. A 30
minute walk every day can promote good sleep and also aid in better
control over mood swings which is usually experienced by the patients.
Exercise also helps in promoting better joint health and also
strengthens bones and muscles.
Lastly,
it requires to be mentioned that Alzheimer’s disease like any other
disease condition needs to be treated with utmost care. With proper care
and treatment individuals can easily live the journey of life with
Alzheimer’s. Living with this disease condition can be very difficult,
but certainly it is not impossible.

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