Alzheimer s Disease
Alzheimer s Disease is a form of dementia although not all dementia is Alzheimers or AD.
AD is considered an irreversible progressive brain disease.
AD causes around 50,000 deaths a year making it the 8th leading cause of death in the US.
As the disease progresses, it ultimately steals all memories, even of how to chew and swallow.
Alzheimer damage begins 10 to 20 years before any symptoms appear.
Memory problems are one of the first signs of Alzheimers disease. However, memory problems are not always a sign of Alzheimers. Likewise memory problems are not necessarily an age related problem. They could be simply a lack of training or mental laziness. Patients as old as 100 years of age have excellent and well functioning memories.
First Signs and Symptoms
Memory related problems are one of the first signs of Alzheimers disease.
Mild Alzheimer Disease
With the progression of AD, there is continued memory loss along with difficulties in cognition. Problems handling money, paying bills, asking the same questions, poor judgment and getting lost are all features of this stage.
Mood and personality changes are also noted. Not all changes are for the worse. Some actually develop nicer personalities.
Moderate Alzheimer Disease
Losses in conscious thought, language, reasoning, sensory, and mental processing.
Memory loss continues. Things like putting on several watches or putting a shirt over a shirt will happen.
Friends and family may no longer be remembered. Romantic feeling may be expressed for someone who is not their mate.
Simple tasks may be difficult to carry out. Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia may be noted. It is not uncommon for an individual with Alzhiemers to feel someone has come in and stolen their things. Another common report is that people are sneaking into the next room and having sex when nobody is around. Weight loss of 10 percent of total body weight within six months or less will also be noted.
Severe Alzheimers Disease
Near the end of the disease process, the Alzheimers patient may no longer ambulate.
Alzheimers Disease Causes
There are many theories being researched. Included are....
Having one of three genes: in "early-onset" (before age 60) inherited cases. These are less than 5 percent of all cases.
Having the gene APOE in "late-onset" (40 percent of those with AD have APOE)
Alzheimers Info From the National Institute of Aging provides additional information.
Research suggests that a healthy diet, exercise, social engagement, and mentally stimulating pursuits can all help people reduce cognitive decline.
Diagnosing Alzheimer s Disease
Several tests, tools and methods can allow a doctor to determine fairly accurately if a person who is having memory problems possibly or probably has Alzheimers disease.
Most medical sites will say that there is no magic bullet.
AD is a complex disease, and no single “magic bullet” is likely to prevent or cure it. That’s why current treatments focus on several different aspects, including helping people maintain mental function; managing behavioral symptoms; and slowing, delaying, or preventing AD.
Most clinicians feel that the current treatments are all that can be done. Anecdotal evidence says the exact opposite. There is more. Some feel it is an even better way to treat Alzheimer s Disease. Studies support the anecdotal evidence.
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