Understanding the Basics of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer is a medical condition in which the brain gradually loses the nerve cells leading to decline in brain functions.  Alzheimer’s disease is considered as the common cause of dementia which affects memory and behavior.  It’s hard to identify the symptoms early on but the patients affected by the disease have memory loss, difficulty with thinking and judgments which ultimately makes it hard for people to function in their every day life.

Alzheimer's disease

Scientists haven’t been able to determine the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease but there are several factors that may raise the risk of getting it such as:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Prior major head injury
  • Lifestyle factors and
  • Issues related to vascular disease

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

Being a progressive condition, patients brain function continues to deteriorate as the disease advances.  Early signs include:

  • minor memory loss
  • difficulty saying the right words

As the disease advances, it would lead to following symptoms:

  • confusion
  • long term memory loss
  • difficulty doing familiar tasks
  • personality changes
  • behavioral changes
  • losing things

Click here to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

Diagnosing Alzheimer

Presently, there is no conclusive test to identify Alzheimer’s disease.  If you or your family member feel that you have any of these signs and symptoms, you should see your primary physician or specialist to evaluate you.  First they would run some test to eliminate other disorders such as chemical imbalances, depression,  stroke or head injury that have similar symptoms as Alzheimer.   Physicians can only determine the probability of the disease by running a comprehensive medical and neurological test.

Treatment

Alzheimer is an incurable disease.  However, there are drugs that would reduce the symptoms and decrease the advancement of the disease in some people.  As with any degenerative disorder, the disease progresses gradually and it is essential to arrange care and support to manage the disease properly.  Click here to learn more about Alzheimer’s treatment.

Preventing Alzheimer

Since the specific factor for Alzheimer hasn’t been identified, there’s nothing that can be done to ensure its prevention.    Research has shown that some steps may be worth adding to your life that may possibly prevent or delay the disease.

  • no smoking
  • minimizing alcohol consumption
  • healthy diet
  • exercising
  • mentally active
  • keeping a normal blood pressure
  • avoiding head injury

Check out this short video for overview of the Alzheimer’s disease:

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Sources

NHS Choices

National Institute on Aging: “About Alzheimer’s Disease: Alzheimer’s Basics.”

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “NINDS Alzheimer’s Disease Information Page.”


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