Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that causes memory loss and changes in thinking, personality and behavior. It affects people of all ages.
It can happen for a variety of reasons, including age and family history. But a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce your risk of getting it.
That cause alzheimer
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is caused by a series of toxic events in the brain. These events disrupt the way brain cells communicate, damage neurons and kill them. Scientists don’t know exactly what causes these harmful changes, but it’s believed that a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors may contribute to the development of AD.
One common factor is the presence of proteins in the brain that build up over time. These proteins are called amyloid plaques and tangles. These clumps of protein are believed to damage brain cells, causing them to lose their ability to function and die.
Another risk factor is a family history of Alzheimer’s. People with a first-degree relative who has Alzheimer’s have a 50% chance of developing the condition themselves. This form of Alzheimer’s is called familial Alzheimer’s.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s can range from mild forgetfulness to a severe decline in memory and thinking skills, as well as mood and behaviour changes. These symptoms typically appear in a progressive order, starting with the preclinical stage and moving toward the clinical stage of dementia.
Early-onset Alzheimer’s is when symptoms start before a person turns 65 years old, although this form of the disease doesn’t always develop in this manner. It usually begins in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is responsible for storing memories and learning new information.
Many of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s are similar to those of normal aging, including the loss of memories and confusion about where they came from. This can be a confusing and frustrating experience for someone who has already started to lose their ability to remember.
This can cause anxiety, apathy and delusions. These symptoms may become more severe as the dementia progresses.
People with Alzheimer’s often have problems completing everyday tasks, such as walking or eating. They also have trouble recognizing their friends and family.
They have a hard time concentrating, and they may become confused about the day of the week or where they are. They might also repeat stories, thoughts or events that are on their minds.
Signs of alzheimer’s disease
Memory problems are the most common early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. They can be mild, but they can also get worse as the condition progresses.
For instance, someone with dementia might forget the names of family members or their telephone number. They might also find it hard to remember where the grocery store is.
These early symptoms may look like normal changes that people have with age, but it is important to visit a doctor to rule out other causes of memory loss and forgetfulness.
If a doctor thinks that you have Alzheimer’s disease they will ask questions about your health, carry out tests and refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist. They may order blood or brain imaging tests to help them make a diagnosis.
They might also do mental status and neuropsychological tests to check your memory, thinking skills and ability to solve simple problems. These tests will also assess how much of your day-to-day tasks are being done, such as cooking, cleaning and shopping.
In addition to memory loss, people with Alzheimer’s disease may experience other changes in their behavior. These can include hallucinations, delusions or changes in their sleep patterns.
Some people with Alzheimer’s may start to dress in ways that aren’t normal for them (wearing several shirts on a warm day or very little clothing in cold weather). They might also show poor judgment about money, giving away large amounts of cash to telemarketers and paying for home repairs or products they don’t need.
These behavior changes can be very distressing to the person with Alzheimer’s and those around them. They can lead to feelings of confusion, suspicion, depression, fear or anxiety.
Another change is a lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy. Some individuals with Alzheimer’s will stop doing their favorite hobbies or even stop working on projects at work.
These changes are very challenging for the person with Alzheimer’s and those who care for them, so it is important to seek support from friends and relatives. They can help to reduce the stress of the situation and give you an idea of how much care your loved one needs in different stages of the disease.
Treatment for alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the death of nerve cells in the brain. This leads to the buildup of tiny deposits, known as plaques, and tangles made from two proteins. The changes are thought to affect a person’s ability to think and remember.
There are a few different types of medicines that may help people with Alzheimer’s. These include medications for memory loss, behavioral changes and movement problems. They work by slowing or reversing the disease’s progress.
Three of these drugs are cholinesterase inhibitors: donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne) and rivastigmine (Exelon). Each is available as a pill or skin patch, and the dose can vary.
Another type of drug is a NMDA receptor antagonist called memantine (Namenda). This stops the overstimulation of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that’s important for learning and memory. Excess glutamate in the brain can cause cell damage and lead to death.
Other medications that are used to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s are antidepressants, anticonvulsants and antipsychotic medicines. They can help control behavior problems and relieve depression. However, they can have serious side effects.
A new treatment for early-stage Alzheimer’s is an antibody that targets the protein amyloid. This medication, lecanemab, has slowed clinical decline by 27% in a recent trial. The drug is infused intravenously once a month.
It is expensive, so it’s only being offered by a few health systems in the U.S. The medication is not yet approved for use by Medicare or Medicaid.
Doctors and researchers are working to develop more-effective treatments for Alzheimer’s. They are also testing other possible interventions, including cognitive training, physical activity and immunization therapy.
In the meantime, doctors and caregivers can take steps to make life easier for those living with Alzheimer’s. These may include establishing routines, making adjustments to their home and creating an individualized care plan that fits their needs.
They may also want to consider financial planning, developing advance directives, enrolling in a clinical trial or anticipating their own care needs. These steps can help them stay in control of their situation as the disease progresses.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, see your doctor right away. Early diagnosis helps doctors and family members identify the cause of dementia so they can plan ahead for medical, financial and other care needs.
How to prevent alzheimer’s disease
Although no one can control aging or your genes, many risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease may be changed by making healthy lifestyle choices. These include eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly and controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
These changes can slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease and reduce the risk of other health problems, such as stroke and heart attack, that are linked to dementia. In fact, researchers are working on ways to prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia altogether.
Scientists don’t know the exact cause of Alzheimer’s, but it is believed to be caused by abnormal build-up of proteins that form plaques and tangles within brain cells. These build-ups interfere with the brain’s normal processes and lead to a series of toxic events that damage and kill brain cells.
This process happens over years, and the changes in the brain occur before symptoms appear. This is called preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. People who develop Alzheimer’s in this stage may show only mild forgetfulness or concentration problems that are noticeable to family members and friends.
Then, over time, the changes in the brain begin to interfere with other functions. They also decrease the level of a chemical messenger (called acetylcholine) that sends messages between brain cells.
When this occurs, it is hard to remember things or make plans. It is common to forget appointments or a phone number once in a while, but someone with Alzheimer’s is likely to forget it more often.
Some of these symptoms may not be very noticeable to others, but it is important for a doctor to diagnose a person with Alzheimer’s. This will help your doctor treat the condition and monitor its progression.
For example, if you have an MCI diagnosis, your doctor will recommend that you develop strategies to keep your memory and other thinking skills strong. This will delay the onset of dementia and improve your quality of life.
Some of these strategies will not reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, but they can help you stay as healthy as possible. These include avoiding tobacco products, eating a heart-healthy diet, controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, getting regular exercise, and staying mentally active.