Alzheimer's Disease: from forgetting keys to forgetting major life events
Alzheimer's disease is a severe neurological condition where brain cells' death causes memory loss and cognitive decline. This medical condition is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, the first to describe it in 1906. It is the most common dementia type known as Senile Dementia, accounting for approximately 60% to 80% of dementia cases in the United States. This medical condition affects around 5 million population in the United States, and estimates suggest that this number will multiply to nearly triple by 2060.
This mental health condition usually affects people aged 65 years and more, and only 10% of cases occur in people below this age group. This blog will help you understand this dire mental health condition and make you more aware of your mental health. Here, we are trying to give you an overview of this disease.
Alzheimer's Disease overview
Alzheimer's disease is one of the medical conditions that affect the brain. The symptoms are mild initially but become severe over time. Common symptoms of this Alzheimer's disease include memory loss, impulsive or unpredictable behavior, or language problems. One of the main features of Alzheimer's disease is the presence of tangles in the plague in the brain.
Another feature is a loss of link between the neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain. It means that the information cannot pass easily between different brain areas or between muscles or organs and the brain. As the symptoms worsen, it becomes harder for an individual to remember recent events, make arguments, and recognize known people. Eventually, an individual with this medical condition may need full-time assistance.
Do I have Alzheimer's disease?
You can check whether you have this disease or not by cross-checking a list of possible symptoms. As we all know, this mental health condition is a progressive one, meaning that the symptoms may get worse with time. You may have a regular check-up as the symptoms appear gradually, over months or years. If any of the symptoms develop over hours or days, you may need medical help, as it could indicate a stroke. Some of the Alzheimer's disease symptoms:
It makes it difficult for a person to take any new information and remember information resulting in losing objects, repeating questions or conversations, wandering or getting lost, and forgetting about events or appointments.
An individual may experience difficulty performing complex tasks, reasoning, and judgment. It can lead to problems with money or paying bills, making decisions, completing tasks with several stages, or a reduced understanding of safety and risks.
It reduces the ability of an individual to recognize faces or objects. They fail to use essential tools, not because of eyesight problems.
Problems with spatial awareness:
It causes difficulty balancing, resulting in trips over, dilemma-oriented clothing, or spilling things more often.
Problems with reading, speaking, or writing:
Alzheimer's disease makes a person develop difficulties thinking common words, or they keep making spelling, speech, or writing errors.
Behavior or personality changes:
It can cause loss of empathy; becoming angry, upset, or worried more than before; loss of motivation or interest for activities one usually enjoys; or obsessive, compulsive, or socially inappropriate behavior.
What is the level of Alzheimer's disease I am dealing with?
Alzheimer's disease can be mild or severe, and the scale ranges from a calm impairment state to moderate impairment before getting a severe cognitive decline. You can check your level of this mental health condition by learning about the stages of this disease.
Mild Alzheimer's disease
In this stage, people develop cognitive difficulties and memory problems, including wandering and getting lost; difficulty paying bills or handling money; taking prolonged time to perform daily tasks, and experiencing personality and behavior changes, including hiding things, getting upset or angry more efficiently, or pacing.
Moderate Alzheimer's disease
At this stage, the brain parts responsible for senses, language, reasoning, and consciousness are damaged; resulting in difficulty recognizing friends or family, performing several tasks, coping with new situations; excellent memory loss and confusion; inability to learn new things; impulsive behavior; delusions, hallucinations, or paranoia.
Severe Alzheimer's disease
At this stage, plaques and tangles occur throughout the brain, causing the brain's tissues to shrink substantially, leading to an inability to communicate, leave the bed, and dependency on others for care and day-to-day activities.
Is there any way to treat Alzheimer's disease?
There is no available cure for Alzheimer's disease, and it is still not possible to reverse the death of brain cells. Although, treatment can help relieve symptoms and better the quality of life for individuals and people associated with them. One can try effective management of any medical condition occurring together with Alzheimer;'s disease, involvement of support groups and services, or activities and daycare programs.
Medications for cognitive symptoms
No such disease-modifying medicines are available for Alzheimer's disease. Still, some options are available as per the FDA guidelines that may help reduce the effects of this mental health condition. Cholinesterase inhibitors category of medications can ease cognitive symptoms, including confusion, memory loss, judgment problems, and altered thought processes. They help improve neural interaction across the brain and slow the operation of these symptoms.
Three standard FDA approved drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease symptoms are:
Galantamine (Razadyne), for the treatment of mild to moderate stages Donepezil (Aricept), to treat all stagesRivastigmine (Exelon) to provide relief during mild to intermediate stages in some cases, the doctor may recommend antidepressants (for low mood), antipsychotic drugs (for delusions, hallucinations, or aggression), or antianxiety medications. According to a recent report, consumption of coffee can help you keep this mental health condition at bay and make you active.