Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to degenerate.
It is the most common cause of Dementia. A decline in behavioral thinking and social skills that disrupts a person’s ability to operate independently.
As the disease progresses, an individual who has Alzheimer’s disease will develop memory impairment and lose the ability. It is the most common type of Dementia that leads to problems in thinking, memory, behavior, and inability to do simple tasks. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s gradually increase with time. 60% to 70% of cases of Alzheimer’s are associated with Dementia, and there’s a continuous decline in behavioral and thinking skills that disrupts the abilities to work independently. Among elderly deaths, Alzheimer’s is considered to be the 3rd leading disorder.

Kinds of Alzheimer’s

  • Early-onset:

    This condition occurs in people who are younger and less than 65 years old. Approximately 5% to 6% of the people who suffer from the onset of Alzheimer’s are usually in their 40s or 50s. It can be connected with a flaw in chromosome 14. It could be in either of two forms:

  • Familial Alzheimer’s Disease (FAD)

    A person with FAD begins to show symptoms usually around their 30s-50s. As the name itself suggests that “Familial” is that runs in the family, so the families that have previous records of Alzheimer’s for at least two generations might have this disease in the future. It’s considered that FAD is genetic.

  • Sporadic Alzheimer’s

    This sort of Alzheimer’s isn’t associated with family history. It could be due to environmental factors or an unhealthy lifestyle.

  • Late-onset

    It occurs to the people who are over 65 years of age and is the most common type of Alzheimer’s. Researchers are working on learning if this disease is genetic or not, as it may and may not run in families. The exact cause is unknown. It happens, years before it shows its symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s?

Memory problem appears to be the first of cognitive impairment, and it is associated with Alzheimer’s disease; these impairments may lead from mild to severe.
Symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease are as follows:

  • Memory loss.
  • Confusions in mind about time, date, and places.
  • Placing the object in unusual places.
  • People with Alzheimer’s tend to ask repetitive questions.
  • They face difficulties in managing money and paying bills.
  • Disturbed sleep has been observed in such patients.
  • They are prone to have hallucinations and delusions.
  • Their judgment is poor.
  • They have trouble recognizing faces and identifying family and friends.
  • They tend to face difficulties in working with numbers as well as reading and writing.
  • Takes times in performing regular tasks.
  • Difficulty in memorizing the information and recent events.
  • Difficulty in walking and swallowing.

What Causes Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the buildup of the abnormal protein inside the brain; these proteins are called Amyloid proteins, which lead to the death of neurons. The human brain is composed of 100 billion nerve cells, as well as other cells. The nerve cells are responsible for performing multiple functions such as Thinking, Remembering, Learning, and Planning. The protein, called Amyloid proteins, accumulate in the brain cells resulting in the formation of the enormous masses called Plaques, whereas the other proteins Tau forms the Tangles in the brain.

 

The buildup protein, Plaque, and Tangles lead to blocking the communication of the nerve cells; thus, they are unable to perform their function and to carry out the processes. The slow processes or ongoing cell death of the nerve cells in the area of the brain that controls the memory results in symptoms that are visible in Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease Signs & Symptoms

How a Doctor Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease?

Following tests and strategies are followed for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s:

  • Medical History:

    For the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, the physician collects the medical history of the patient that includes current and past medical records, family history, and memory disorders. He also collects the patient’s vital parameters report and also performs the neurological examination to check the reflexes of the patient.

  • Blood and Urine Test:

    These are the regular diagnostic tests that performed to find out the other symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

  • Mental Status Testing:

    The test performed to check the progression of Alzheimer’s. The test comprises checking the focus, language skills, and problem-solving capabilities.

  • Neuropsychological Testing:

    This test performed to check the personality and emotional stability of a person. It assesses the attention, the ability of reasoning and planning, and the memory.

  • Spinal Tap:

    This procedure is also called a lumbar puncture and performed to find out the Amyloid and Tau proteins for Plaques by using spinal fluid.

  • Brain Imaging Test

Several scanning tests performed to view the changes in brain structure and tissues. They are as follows:

  • Computed Tomography
  • Functional MRI
  • Positron Emission Tomography.

How Can We Treat Alzheimer’s Disease?

There is no treatment available for Alzheimer’s, but there are fewer medications that slow down the spread of Alzheimer’s; they slow down the symptoms and help people with behavioral changes.FDA has approved two main types of medication to treat Alzheimer’s, which are:

  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors: These drugs are used to treat Alzheimer’s from early to moderate stages like Donepezil, Galantamine, Rivastigmine.
  • Drugs for cognitive symptoms like memory, attention, reasoning, language, and ability to perform simple tasks include Memantine and Memantine in combination with Donepizel to treat moderate to severe patients.

Alzheimer’s Risk Factors

Alzheimer’s Disease Risk factors

Dependency Factors Associated With Alzheimer’s

Age

The risk of having Alzheimer’s increases with the increasing age.

Gender

Studies show that women have Alzheimer’s more as compared to men.

Family History

People with a family history of Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop this disease.

Other Factors

Other factors associated with Alzheimer’s are Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease, Hypertension or High Blood Pressure, etc.

Stages

There are three stages of Alzheimer’s disease leading from mild, moderate, and severe.

  • Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

    In a mild stage, a person can perform daily chores smoothly like driving, cooking, but people with mild Alzheimer’s faces memory loss and cognitive impairment. Problems in this stage may include wandering, issues in managing money, paying bills, repetitive questions, or difficulty in performing regular tasks. People with Alzheimer’s often diagnosed at this stage suffer from personality and behavioral changes. Close family members or friends can’t recognize them as symptoms at this stage are not very clear.

  • Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

    In the moderate stage, problems occur in the sensory area of the brain. The brain is unable to control language, conscious thoughts, and sensory processing. They are incapable of learning new things; the confusion and memory loss got worsen. People have impulsive behaviors at this stage, and they tend to develop hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. They may not be able to perform even the simplest tasks without any aid. They become annoyed or irritated very quickly. Patients with Moderate Alzheimer’s may show symptoms like trouble to control their bladders and bowel, unable to evoke their names, addresses, contact numbers or any personal information, irregular sleeping patterns and mood swings, etc.

  • Severe Alzheimer’s Disease

    In the Severe stage, the condition of the patient worsens as plaques and Tau spread over their brain, thus leading to shrinking the brain tissues. At this stage, the person might be on bed as his body completely shuts off, and they are dependent on others for their care. Patients may require complete assistance, become physically compromised, and prone to infectious diseases.

Alzheimer’s Statistics

The 6th leading cause of death in the United States is Alzheimer’s, and more than 5 million people in America are living with this condition. According to an estimated count, 50 million people are those who this Alzheimer’s disease have. Among elderly patients, it is the 3rd leading cause of deaths following cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

Alzheimer’s Complications

  • Malnutrition
  • Infections
  • Dehydration
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Problems related to bladder
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Impulsive behavior

Alzheimer’s Disease FAQs

Question 1

What’s the distinction between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
Answer: Alzheimer’s disease is a type of Dementia. Dementia is a decrease in thinking, reasoning, and/or recalling abilities of a person. People with Dementia have difficulty carrying out daily activities independently throughout their lives. The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It is irreversible, but occasionally their symptoms may be managed.

Question 2

Is Alzheimer’s disease genetic?
Answer: There are a couple of cases where the disease of Alzheimer’s does run in families. There is a direct connection between an inherited mutation in 1 gene and the disease’s beginning. These are generally instances of early onset of this disease, which affects older people.
Some cases of Alzheimer’s disease are all can be genetic. If a relative has a normal form of Alzheimer’s disease, the risk to close relatives is around three times greater than the danger for other people.

Question 3

Is there any cure for Alzheimer’s disease?
Answer: There are lots of drug treatments that can help patients, although there are no drugs that could cure this disease. The treatments can slow the development of this illness in some instances down for periods between 6 and 18 months.

Question 4

Can Alzheimer’s disease be avoided?
Answer: Not enough is known to recommend something which will prevent it. The cause for the changes which occur in the brain tissue of people with Alzheimer’s disease isn’t known. But it is more common in older people.
Even though there are no preventative measures to recommend, it can be recommended as a healthy lifestyle: Eating a balanced diet, staying physically, mentally active, no smoking, and drinking. There is evidence to suggest that a healthy lifestyle will help to decrease an individual’s risk.

References