Alzheimer’s disease is a type of medical condition that affects the brain. It is said that this condition usually affects people aged 65 years and over, with only 10% of cases occurring in people younger than this.
As per the best neurologist in Hyderabad, one of the main features of this medical condition is the presence of plaques and tangles in the brain. Another feature is a loss of connection between the nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain.
Though the effects of the disease are similar, there are two main types of alzheimer’s disease such as Early-onset Alzheimer’s and Late-onset Alzheimer’s.
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
If we discuss about the symptoms, memory loss is the key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the early signs include difficulty remembering recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, memory impairments worsen and other symptoms develop.
In the beginning, a person with Alzheimer’s disease may be aware of having difficulty remembering things and organizing thoughts. Usually, a family member or friend may be more likely to notice how the symptoms worsen.
People with Alzheimer’s may possibly:-
- Repeat statements and questions over and over
- Forget conversations, appointments or events, and not remember them later
- Routinely misplace possessions, often putting them in illogical locations
- Get lost in familiar places
- Eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects
- Have trouble finding the right words to identify objects, express thoughts or take part in conversations
The above mentioned are some of the crucial Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
Causes of Alzheimer
Alzheimer’s develops due to the death of brain cells. It is a neurodegenerative condition. This means that the brain cell death happens over time. In a person suffering from Alzheimer’s, the brain tissue has fewer and fewer nerve cells and connections, and tiny deposits, known as plaques and tangles, build up on the nerve tissue. Plaques develop between the dying brain cells. They are made from a protein known as beta-amyloid. The tangles occur within the nerve cells.
Neurologists do not fully understand why these changes occur. Several factors may be involved. The Alzheimer’s Association have produced a visual guide to show what happens in the process of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease Stages
The stages of Alzheimer’s disease can range from mild to severe. People with mild Alzheimer’s disease develop memory problems and cognitive difficulties that may include the following:-
- Taking longer than usual to perform daily tasks
- Difficulty handling money or paying the bills
- Wandering and getting lost
- Experiencing personality and behavior changes
In moderate Alzheimer’s disease, the parts of the brain responsible for language, senses, reasoning, and consciousness are damaged. This can lead to the following symptoms such as:-
- Greater memory loss and confusion
- Difficulty recognizing friends or family
- An inability to learn new things
- Impulsive behavior
- Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia
A number of conditions can result in memory loss or other dementia symptoms. If you are concerned about your memory or other thinking skills, visit neurology hospital in Hyderabad for a thorough assessment and diagnosis.
How is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed?
A number of tests are used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease or to rule out other medical conditions that cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease:-
Medical history – The doctor will ask about current and past medical conditions, alzheimer’s disease medication and family history of Alzheimer’s disease or other memory disorders. He or she will also blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, pulse rate and conduct a neurologic exam.
Blood and urine tests – These are standard lab tests conducted to rule out other causes of symptoms including blood counts, vitamin levels, liver and kidney function, mineral balance, and thyroid gland function tests.
Neuropsychological testing – This medical exam includes tests to assess attention, memory, language, the ability to plan and reason, and the ability to change behavior.
Computed tomography (CT) – It reveals physical changes in the structure of brain tissue seen in the later changes of Alzheimer’s disease.
Magnetic resonance imaging – This scan can also show brain atrophy. Additionally, it can identify strokes, tumors, the buildup of fluid on the brain, and other structural damage that can cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease.
What is the Best Treatment for Alzheimer?
There is no known proper cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, treatments can relieve its symptoms and improve quality of life for the person.
The following can be helpful:-
- Effective management of any conditions occurring alongside Alzheimer’s
- Activities and daycare programs
- Involvement of support groups and services
As mentioned above, no disease-modifying drugs are available for Alzheimer’s disease, but some options may reduce the symptoms and help improve quality of life.
Drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors can ease cognitive symptoms. They improve neural communication across the brain and slow the progress of these symptoms. Aducanumab also works to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and is called a disease-modifying drug.
The emotional and behavioral changes linked with Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging to manage. People may increasingly experience irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, sleep problems, and other difficulties.
Treating the underlying causes of these changes can be helpful. Some may be side effects of medications, discomfort from other medical conditions, or problems with hearing or vision.
Identifying what triggered these behaviors and avoiding or changing these things can help people deal with the changes. Triggers may include changing environments, new caregivers, or being asked to bathe or change clothes.
It is often possible to change the environment to resolve obstacles and boost the person’s comfort, security, and peace of mind.
How to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer is not a preventable condition. However, a number of lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer’s can be modified. According to the doctors, changes in diet, exercise and habits, and following steps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease may also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that cause dementia.
- Some of the healthy lifestyle choices that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s include the following:-
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a diet of fresh produce, healthy oils and foods low in saturated fat such as a Mediterranean diet
- Following treatment guidelines to manage high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol
- Asking your doctor for help to quit smoking if you smoke
Studies have shown that preserved thinking skills later in life and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease are associated with participating in social events, reading, dancing, playing board games, creating art, playing an instrument, and other activities that require mental and social engagement.
To know more about the Alzheimer’s disease and its treatment, you must visit a Neurologist.