Alzheimer’s Disease: – Causes, Patterns, Symptoms, and Treatment

Alzheimer’s Disease: – Causes, Patterns, Symptoms, and Treatment

Overview

Alzheimer’s is a type of neurological disease that affects the brain by gradually destroying the memory, thinking ability, and even the capacity to perform simplest daily tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common worldwide known cause of meningitis. Its prevalence has been increasing in part due to the increase in the world population. This neurodegenerative disease is primarily characterized by two hallmark diseases:

  1. β-amyloid plaque deposition
  2. neurofibrillary tangles of hyperphosphorylated tau

Diagnosis depends on the fluid and imaging biomarkers as well as clinical presentations that meet several criteria.

Alzheimer’s Disease

These plaques and tangles occurring in the brain are considered to be one of some main features of Alzheimer’s. Another feature is the loss of connection between brain nerve cells (Neuron). Neurons send messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to the muscles and organs of the body. Many other complex changes of the brain are also believed to play a role in Alzheimer’s. This damage is initially seen in the hippocampus, which is an essential part of the brain in memory formation. As neurons die, the excess of the brain is affected. By the last stage of Alzheimer’s, this damage is greatly increased and brain tissue decreases considerably.

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The following article will discuss the causes, patterns, symptoms, and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientists are yet to determine the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease. The causing factors probably include a combination of aging related changes inside the brain as well as genetic, lifestyle and environmental. The importance of any of these factors may vary from person to person in increasing or reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Risk factor relating to Age:

Increased age is the most important known risk factor for this disease. The number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease doubles every 5 years after 65 years of age. About one-third of people aged 85 and over are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Researchers are working on how the age related factors or changes in the brain holds the ability to affect the neurons and other types of brain cells badly, contributing in Alzheimer’s    

These age-related changes include the decay of certain parts of the brain (compressed), inflammation and vascular damage, the production of unstable molecules called free radicals, and the breakdown of energy production within the cells.

Genetical Factor:

Genes inherited from parents can determine the extent to which he/she is likely to have Alzheimer’s disease. Genetic risk factors are gene changes or differences that can affect the chances of developing diseases. Some diseases in the family may also be seen as a risk factor.

Other factors relating to Lifestyle, Health and Environment:

  • The association between cognitive abated and vascular conditions such as heart disease, heart stroke, high blood pressure, as well as metabolic conditions such as diabetes and obesity. 
  • Physical activity, social engagement, mentally stimulating work, sleep and having a nutritious diet helps to stay healthy with growing age. Doing so may reduce the risk of this disease.
  • Early life factors can also play a role in this regard. For example, studies have associated high levels of education with a risk of dementia reduction. There is also a difference in the risk of dementia between ethnic groups and genders.[link]

Types of Alzheimer’s Disease

Two types of Alzheimer’s disease are observed –

  1. Early start and 
  2. Late start. 

Both types have a genetic component.

  1. Early-onset Alzhemer’s:

Early onset Alzheimer’s disease occurs between the 30s and 60s of a person and represents less than 10 percent of all people with Alzheimer’s. Some cases are caused by inherited changes in one of the three genes. In other cases, research shows that other genetic elements are involved. Studies are in process to identify the additional genetic risk factors of early onset of this particular disease.  

  1. Late-onset Alzheimer’s:

Most of the individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease develop late-onset type. The symptoms of this kind appear in the mid 60s. The specific gene to blame for this is still not identified. However, a genetic risk factor containing a type of Apolipoprotein E/APOE gene or allele in chromosome 19 increases the risk of a person. Thus it called the risk factor gene- ‘APOE ɛ4’. However, APOE ɛ4 being a successor to Allele does not mean that a person will definitely have Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease may show symptoms like these –

  1. Memory loss: 

Loss of memory is noticed as a major and common symptom of Alzheimer’s. Memory loss is common with age, but in these patients the problem persists and the mental state deteriorates, affecting the patient’s ability to work.

  1. Reduces the ability to think:

Some people suffering from this condition may experience a change in their ability to create and execute a plan dealing with numbers. They can also face difficulties in doing a simple task in day to day life. They may face difficulty paying attention and they may take a lot longer to do things than before.

  1. Can face confusion with time and place:

People living with Alzheimer’s may lose their ability to deal with dates, seasons and times. If it is not immediately they may have trouble understanding something. Sometimes they may be unable to find any clue about their place or how they get there. 

  1. Difficulty in understanding spatial relationships and visual images:

Having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s for some people. This can lead to balance or reading problems. Such people may face difficulties determining distance, color, contrast etc, which can result in driving problems. 

  1. May face problem with words while writing or speaking:

Such people may have trouble following or joining the conversation. They may stop in between a conversation or get confused about how to continue. Thus they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, get in trouble or use the wrong name for a familiar thing.

  1. Misplacing things:

A person with Alzheimer’s disease can keep things in an unusual place. They may lose things and be unable to get back over their steps to find them again. Such people can even accuse others of stealing especially as the disease intensifies.

  1. Problem with making a decision: 

Such a person may suffer from decision making problems. They may make poor decisions while dealing with money or may pay less attention to keep themselves clean. 

  1. Isolate living:

The person suffering from this disease may experience a change in his/her ability to hold or follow a conversation. As a result, he may lose interests; avoid social activities or other engagements. They may have problems adapting to favorite teams or activities.

  1. Change in Mood and Personality:

Such people may have changed in their attitude and personality. They may be confused, suspicious, depressed, frightened or anxious. They can easily get upset with friends at their homely comfort zone or outside with strangers.

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Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

So far no cure has been found for Alzheimer’s disease. Once symptoms begin to show there is no treatment that can stop or reverse them. But there are some medicines that can ease some symptoms. These can slow down the severity of the disease, and help the brain function better for a longer period of time.  In such cases some natural means seem to be beneficial. They are as follows –

  1. Take Supplements:

Studies indicate that DHA Supplements can be helpful in postponing the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms. DHA is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in eggs, fish, meat and algae. 

Also, foods or supplements rich in vitamin E can also help slow down the symptoms of the disease. 

Turmeric and other members of the Ginger family have been used for centuries in Western medicine to improve signs of aging, including symptoms of dementia such as memory loss and inability to concentrate, as well as a commitment to improve pain and swelling associated with arthritis. But this plant is said to be harmful to people with gallstones, jaundice and blood thinners – it is also necessary to consult a doctor before starting any new herbal system.

  1. Change your Diet:

People suffering from diabetes and obesity are also at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in their bodies. So changing and regularly balancing your diet in favor of diabetes and obesity reduces the risk of this disease.

  1. Do Exercise:

Studying the relationship between exercise and dementia has revealed that reducing physical inactivity to at least 25% in case of aged people can reduce the incidence of about one million Alzheimer’s cases of meningitis worldwide. Exercising is particularly helpful in managing vascular dementia, where plaque accumulation and limited blood flow cause brain cell death. 

You can also keep yourself physically active by working your daily tasks instead of exercising hard.

  1. Keep social interaction:

Another best way to improve the knowledge and overall well-being of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia is through psychosocial intervention. Research shows that people with dementia are at risk of improving their lives by constantly ensuring social relationships by focusing on actions that bring joy to people such as aging or living together with loved ones, spending time among good friends. 

  1. Good sleep is Important: 

Research suggests that there is a strong link between knowledge and sleep. Studies of sleep deficiency show that healthy adults losing one-third of normal night slumber can lead to severe short-term memory loss, comparable to cognitive disorders seen in dementia. People with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia may suffer even more consequences if they disturb sleep, making the symptoms of normal meningitis worse.  

You can also see Acupuncture, reflexology etc. They help slow down Alzheimer’s and its symptoms.

Conclusion

The article informs you about Alzheimer’s disease and its type, symptoms, causes and natural medical treatment. Hope this information included in the article may help you in various ways. Thank you!

FAQ:

1) How common is Alzheimer’s?

Ans:- Around 50 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s disease and an estimated 5.8 million are in the United States with Alzheimer’s. With the population ageing globally and in the US, these numbers are expected to double or triple in the next 50 years. 

2) Are Alzheimer’s and Dementia the same?

Ans:- Dementia is a symptom and there are many causes including vascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, alcohol, traumatic brain injury, vitamin deficiency etc. Alzheimer’s is related to dementia being the most common cause of it. While everyone with Alzheimer’s has a deficiency, not everyone with dementia may have Alzheimer’s.

3) Does Alzheimer’s usually occur in a man’s body or in a woman’s body?

Ans:- Women are more prone to Alzheimer’s disease. However, women generally live longer than men so the population of women is much higher. Research shows that when women are still more prone to male than male according to age effects and the cause is not clear.

4) Alzheimer’s begins in which part of the brain? 

Ans:- The oldest structural changes seen in regular neuroimaging are contractions – also known as atrophy – usually in the middle of the temporal lobe of hippocampus. In a rare version of Alzheimer’s, there may be atrophy in the later cortical area of the brain, including the parietal lobe. Abnormal protein accumulates in other parts of the brain before atrophy is detected. 

5) What is senile dementia?

Ans:- Senile dementia is an old term once used to refer to any type of dementia in elderly people.

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