You can recognise Alzheimer’s disease by these symptoms
In many cases, dementia is related to Alzheimer’s disease. Almost one in 14 people over the age of sixty five suffer from Alzheimer’s. Therefore it’s important to recognise the signals and symptoms early on.
Of all types of dementia, Alzheimer’s is the most common one.
Causes of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia. The term ‘Alzheimer’ is often confused with a more general type of dementia, but this isn’t correct. With Alzheimer’s disease, there’s definitely dementia, but not all people with dementia have Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a syndrome that is degenerative in nature, which means it gets worse over time. There’s an ongoing decline in brain function. Certain proteins called plaques and tangles are deposited in the brain.
These proteins restrict the communication between nerve cells, which eventually affects the memory. There’s no scientific proof for these proteins causing Alzheimer’s.
However, together with high blood pressure and a high cholesterol level, this does increase the risk of developing the disease. The exact cause for the disease isn’t known yet.
An important aspect of this disease is that it starts off slowly and gets worse over time. These are a couple of symptoms that will help you recognise Alzheimer’s disease:
- Memory loss: This is the most common symptom. People start to have trouble retaining new information. They start to forget things about recent events of conversations, for example. Problems with reading, talking, writing and maths start to arise as well.
- Cognitive functions: The ability to think, judge/decide and understand is slowly lost. Taking initiative and acting independently starts to become difficult. Social skills start to degenerate and people can get disoriented about time and/or place.
- Losing grip on reality: Alzheimer patients can start to become suspicious or paranoid. Half of all patients have delusions: beliefs that don’t comply with reality. Because of the paranoia and suspicions, patients can think they’ve been stolen from or lied to by their partners or carers. Hallucinations are also a common symptom.
- Problems with everyday activities: Activities that have always been the most natural thing in the world are now done with more difficulty and clumsiness. At the same time, common social relations can remain intact for a long time. This is why it might appear to the outside world as if everything is alright.
There is still no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are certain medicines and therapies that can help make the lives of patients a little bit easier. There are medicines that are said to inhibit early Alzheimer’s, but the opinions on these medicines are divided.
Several doctors claim that the side effects of the medicines are bigger than the inhibitory effect on the brain disease. Therapy is mostly about support and guidance and focuses on the question: “How can we make sure the patient feels most comfortable and safe?”
The main goal is to make sure patients are bale to live at home for as long as possible. People with Alzheimer’s are said to function better when they still live at home.
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