Alzheimers Disease - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that leads to the shrinkage of the brain and its cells to die. It is one of the most common causes of dementia- memory loss along with loss of social skills that affect the function to work independently. It mostly occurs in old aged people due to the changes that occur in the brain due to aging. 


Alzheimer's is characterized by a loss of memory and the ability to perform activities. Medications can help up to certain levels in conducting day to day activities and maximizing functions. Until now, no treatment can help stop the progression of Alzheimer's. But it can be managed symptomatically. However, it can lead to death when the brain stops working normal daily life functions. It can become a cause of death due to dehydration, infection, or malnutrition. 


Symptoms 


The most common sign and symptom of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss. At the initial stages, the person may notice it by themselves too. They may struggle in remembering little details of day to day events. However, the family members may notice it easily. The signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s are as follows. 


Memory loss


We all have a little loss of memory or confusion. But with Alzheimer's, it is profound memory loss. The people may keep their things at illogical places, may get lost in the streets, they may be unable to reach back home on their own. Moreover, they may forget conversations, commitments, and appointments. They may also do not remember what they had in their last meal, and either they have had it or not. People with Alzheimer's may repeat statements and ask the same question again and again. 


Thinking and logical reasoning 


People with Alzheimer’s find it difficult to think and do logical reasoning. They find it difficult to perform mathematical calculations and abstract concepts. Multitasking is difficult for them like, paying the bill and signing checkbooks at the same time.


Judgments and decision making power


Over time, people having Alzheimer's find it so difficult to pass on the right judgment and making a wise decision. They may choose inappropriate choices according to the condition like, they would dress improperly according to the weather. You may find them with inappropriate dressing in winters. They may not have the right sense to dress properly according to the situation. Moreover, they may not respond appropriately to day to day situations like they may not have a sense of food burning at the stove. Due to these reasons, they need someone to attend to them, accompany them. Otherwise, they may harm themselves. 


Personality changes


You may notice changes in the personality and behavior of a person having Alzheimer's. They may not behave or respond in the same way as they used to be. Moreover, they may also suffer from


  • Depression 

  • Anxiety

  • Mood changes 

  • Social withdrawal 

  • Apathy 

  • Trust issues 

  • Being suspicious of others

  • Irritability 

  • Aggressiveness

  • Loss of inhibitions 

  • Lost in thoughts

  • Hallucinations 

  • Delusions 

  • Wandering 

  • Changes in sleeping pattern 

  • Insomnia 


Due to these complaints, they may need to take medications that help relax them like anxiolytics and ones that help sleep them-sedatives. 


Skills 


People with Alzheimer's can not read a book or do other activities like singing, listening to music, or writing. The fine skills deteriorate as the disease progresses. 



Risk factors


There is no such cause for Alzheimer's. It occurs due to the accumulation of proteins in the brain. The risk factors associated with it are;


  • Family history and genetics

  • Increasing age

  • Down syndrome

  • Female gender

  • Head trauma/ accidents

  • Mild cognitive impairment 

  • Exposure to air pollution 

  • Poor sleep patterns 


Lifestyle habits like lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, uncontrolled type II diabetes. 


Conclusion 


Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that leads to the shrinkage of the brain and its cells to die. It is one of the most common causes of dementia. Until now, no treatment can help stop the progression of Alzheimer's. But it can be managed symptomatically.


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