What is Alzheimer’s disease?[Quick Navigation]
Dementia Vs Alzheimer’sDementia and Alzheimer’s are co-related but both are not the same.
Dementia:The term ‘Dementia’ is chronic disorder of memory loss and gradual decrease in the ability to think, problems with language (communication skills), mood swings and behavioral issues.
Dementia is considered as broad category of various symptoms of cognitive decline and brain disorders which can be associated with memory, communication and thinking.
Alzheimer’s disease :
Alzheimer’s disease overview:
Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of Dementia (mental illness of lunacy) and it causes problems with memory and reasoning. Alzheimer’s is a long term disease which is associated with brain; it is sort of progressive brain disorder that erases the memory and reasoning potential of brain gradually. Over time, Alzheimer’s may develop Dementia (madness) in affected people, a mental disability which causes lunacy, short term memory loss, reasoning skills , communication problems and abnormal behavioral issues that damages the daily life in long term. However with special care and proper treatment can help recover memory and continue life.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease[Quick Navigation]
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
The doctors and experts have suggested that Alzheimer’s symptoms begin to appear in mid 60’s and these symptoms develop in three different stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  It is believed that, during the early stage ‘preclinical stage’, no symptoms will be appeared. In the middle stage ‘mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and final stage of Alzheimer’s associates to Dementia, doctors have observed typical symptoms of loss of memory, difficulty in reasoning and judgment.
Following are the most notable symptoms and signs of Alzheimer’s, the mental illness of slow decline in memory.
- Memory loss that damages daily life
- Lack of reasoning potential
- Difficulty to complete a task
- Communication problems (inability to communicate)
- Misplacing Things
- Confusion with time and place
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Changes in mood and personality
- Impulsive behaviors and anxiety issues
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Vision problems
As the diseases advances over time the symptoms may include communication inability, disorientation (wandering and getting lost), mood swings, abnormal behavioral issues, loss of motivation, social boycott and lack of interest of self care leading to death in severe cases.
Causes of Alzheimer’s disease
That the causes of Alzheimer’s disease are poorly understood. Apart from genetic and environmental factors, it is believed that other risk factors i.e. head injuries, depression or hypertension contribute a great role to develop the conditions and symptoms of Alzheimer’s which usually starts slowly and worsens over time.
The exact causes of Alzheimer’s is not known, but according to researchers, Alzheimer’s develops with a combination of environmental and genetic factors that triggers abnormal biological process of shrinking the brain and production of amyloid protein in the brain to fight against the shrinking and ultimately worse the situation to deteriorate the brain with amyloid deposits.
Genetics:Scientists have identifies a number of regions of interest in an organism’s complete set of DNA (Genome) that may increases a person’s risk to develop Alzheimer’s-type dementia over decades of varying degrees.
Environmental FactorsSome researchers argued that environmental exposure to metals, air pollution and pesticides may contribute a great part to develop Alzheimer’s in late onset stages. As these significant risk factors promotes amyloid-beta accumulation and aggregation, thus contributing to neurodegeneration.
Following are the known factors which increase the risk to shrink the brain (atrophy) which develops the condition of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Increase in Age
- Down’s Syndrome
- Head Injury
- Smoking that generates blood vessel diseases
- Family history of Alzheimer’s disease
- Obesity (abnormal weight gain/ over weight)
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Insulin resistance and Diabetes
Alzheimer’s disease and Brain
Alzheimer's is caused by brain cell death, the total brain size shrinks with Alzheimer's - the tissue has progressively fewer nerve cells and connections and it cannot be seen in the living brain affected by Alzheimer's disease.
During autopsy, the brain of Alzheimer’s affected person shows tiny inclusions in the nerve tissue, called plaques and tangles.
- Plaques are found between the dying cells in the brain of an affected person - from the build-up of a protein called beta-amyloid (you may hear the term "amyloid plaques").
- The tangles are within the brain neurons - from a disintegration of another protein, called tau. In Alzheimer's, threads of tau protein twist into abnormal tangles inside brain cells, which causes failure of the transport system to carry nutrients and other essential materials throughout their long extensions.
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed through a complete medical assessment by a physician and psychologists to evaluate all the concerns about memory loss and other symptoms associated to Alzheimer’s or Dementia (Mental illness of lunacy).
Memory loss during the early stages of Alzheimer’s may create many problems in daily life and health issues in long term and it is very important to get diagnosed as early as possible. As loss of memory may be associated with other health and mental issues i.e. depression, drug interactions, thyroid problems, alcohol abuse and certain vitamin deficiencies. All these health issues are reversible and treatable but Alzheimer’s is an irreversible progressive brain disorder which should be diagnosed in early stages as it would be more beneficial to people facing memory loss issues and dementia and their families:
- A better chance of benefiting from treatment
- More time to plan for the future
- Lessened anxieties about unknown problems
- Increased chances of participating in clinical drug trials, helping advance research
- An opportunity to participate in decisions about care, transportation, living options, financial and legal matters
- Time to develop a relationship with doctors and care partners
- Benefit from care and support services, making it easier for them and their family to manage the disease. Alzheimer’s Navigator can help identify needs and create actions plans.
How it is diagnosed:Psychiatrist and psychologists require careful and thorough evaluation of a person having concerns about memory which includes:
- A thorough medical history
- Mental status and mood testing
- A physical and neurological exam
- Tests (such as blood tests and brain imaging) to rule out other causes of dementia-like symptoms
All the evaluated symptoms of eight cognitive domains are mostly impaired in Alzheimer’s i.e. memory, language, perceptual skills, attention, constructive abilities, orientation, problem solving and function abilities. These domains and suspected symptoms are required to match with the NINCDS-ADRDA Alzheimer’s criteria as listed in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association.
In Australia, more than 342,000 Australians are living with dementia and the number is expected to increase to 400,000 in less than a decade.
In 2015, 850,000 people were affected with Alzheimer’s and dementia; There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. This will soar to 2 million by 2051. 
In 2017, 5.5 million Americans living are estimated with Alzheimer's dementia , an estimated 5.3 million are age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals are under age 65 and have younger-onset Alzheimer's.
At least 44 million people are living with dementia worldwide, making the disease a global health crisis that must be addressed.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
As a matter of fact there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease currently, however researchers have identified some medications which can temporarily reduce some symptoms or slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Epidemiological studies have suggested certain modifiable factors, such as diet, cardiovascular risk, pharmaceutical products, or intellectual activities to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Medications:For prevention of Alzheimer’s symptoms, Donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine (known as AChE inhibitors) can be prescribed for people with early to mid-stage Alzheimer's disease. Further, Memantine may be prescribed for people with mid-stage disease who cannot take AChE inhibitors, or for those with late-stage disease.
Diet:According to BioMed Research International, 2013, people who eat a healthy, Japanese, or Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of AD. 
Moderate use of alcohol, particularly red wine, is associated with lower risk of AD. Ginkgo has any positive effect on cognitive impairment and dementia; evidences have shown many positive results. However research of 2008 seems quite promising, there is no concrete evidence that cannabinoids are effective in improving the symptoms of AD or dementia.
- What support you or your career need for you to remain as independent as possible.
- Whether there are any changes that need to be made to your home to make it easier to live in.
- Whether you need any financial assistance.
- However, as Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition, it can be helpful and reassuring for both you and your family if you make plans for the future to adapt practical tips for people with Alzheimer's:
- Keep a diary and write down things you want to remember
- pin a weekly timetable to the wall
- Put your keys in an obvious place, such as in a large bowl in your living room
- Have a daily newspaper delivered to remind you of the day and date
- Put labels on cupboards and drawers
- Keep useful telephone numbers by the phone
- Write yourself reminders. For example, put a note on the front door to remind you to take your keys with you if you go out
- Programme people's names and numbers into your telephone
- Set the alarm on your watch to act as a reminder.
[Reference, Sources & Disclaimer:]
- alz.org offical website
- According to British journal of BMJ published in April 1, 2009,
- Burns A, Iliffe S (5 February 2009). "Alzheimer's disease". The BMJ. 338: b158.
- Alistair Burns and Steve Lliffe in BMJ journal of Alzheimer’s published in 2009, Burns A, Iliffe S (5 February 2009). "Alzheimer's disease". The BMJ. 338: b158.
- BMJ journal of 2009, Alistair Burns and Steve Iliffe
- Source: nhs.uk
- Source: alz.org
- American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR (4th Edition Text Revision edition.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
- http://www.alz.org/facts/" http://www.alz.org/facts/
- NSAIDs for the Chemoprevention of Alzheimer's Disease. Sub-Cellular Biochemistry. 2007
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Statistic, New data is provided by different authentic websites along with reference, you may consult with each respective owner.
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