Alzheimer’s disease is a serious illness that destroys memory and other thinking skills. It can also cause mood changes and a loss of ability to take care of yourself.
Risk factors include age, family history and genetics. A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
That cause alzheimer
Alzheimer’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes dementia, a deterioration in the ability to think, remember, and function. It typically affects people over the age of 65, but some people younger than that develop the condition.
The cause of Alzheimer’s is not clear, but scientists believe that it begins many years before symptoms occur. A build-up of proteins — amyloid plaques and tau tangles — in and around brain cells leads to the development of dementia. The build-up disrupts brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other, preventing them from functioning normally. It also damages chemical messengers (called neurotransmitters) that are used to send messages between brain cells.
Genetics – A person’s genes can make them more or less likely to develop dementia. Some risk genes are inherited from parents, and others are a result of your environment or lifestyle.
For example, a person with the APOE e4 gene on chromosome 19 is at a higher risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s. About 25% to 30% of the population has this variation. However, some people with the APOE e4 gene do not develop Alzheimer’s.
Family History – A family history of Alzheimer’s is an important factor in your risk for the disease, but this does not mean that you will definitely get it. In fact, the risk is higher if your parent or sibling had it and you did not.
Some people who have a family history of dementia also have other health conditions that increase the risk of cognitive decline, such as cardiovascular diseases (heart and blood vessels problems) or metabolic disorders. In these cases, addressing the other health problem may help reduce your risk of developing dementia.
Physical Activity – Staying physically active is another way to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Regular exercise helps strengthen the muscles of the body, including the brain, and improves overall mental health.
Social Engagement – Being involved in social activities can also lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. Joining a group or club, for example, can help you maintain your social network and increase your sense of self-worth.
Signs of alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative brain condition that can affect people in any age group. It usually begins with memory loss and is the most common form of dementia. However, symptoms can vary from person to person and may get worse or better over time.
For many years, scientists have been trying to understand how Alzheimer’s disease occurs. Most of them think it is caused by abnormal deposits of two proteins in the brain called plaques and tangles. The proteins, beta-amyloid and tau, build up in the spaces between nerve cells in the brain. They interfere with how the brain works and kill some of its healthy cells.
The damage is believed to begin in the brain’s hippocampus, which plays a role in learning and memory. It also is responsible for storing information about recent events, such as what happened on a specific day or week.
As the disease progresses, a person’s memory for both recent and long-ago events may get worse. They might forget things they should remember, such as a telephone number or the name of someone they have known for years. They might also have increasing confusion about which day of the week it is and which season they are in.
Other early signs of Alzheimer’s include a change in a person’s personality. They might become suspicious, fearful or dependent on others. They might become unable to care for themselves or manage their money.
Some of these changes might happen in different stages of the disease, but they always come together to give a person a feeling of decline. In the later stages of the disease, a person’s personality is likely to change even more. They might have hallucinations or delusions, which can be extremely distressing to the person with the disease and their carer.
Other signs of Alzheimer’s include trouble with speech, which can lead to apraxia and agnosia. These symptoms can make it difficult for a person to communicate, and can be especially hard for them to do when their family members are not around.
Treatment for alzheimer’s disease
There are a number of medications that may help slow the rate of cognitive decline and alleviate symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These medications are called cholinesterase inhibitors and may be prescribed by your doctor.
The three most common cholinesterase inhibitors are donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne), and rivastigmine (Exelon). They work by preventing the breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine, which is important for memory. They can help slow down how quickly symptoms get worse for up to about half of people taking them.
These drugs are available as tablets that you swallow or that dissolve in your mouth, or as liquids. They are often prescribed for people who have mild, moderate, or severe dementia.
Some people who take these medications experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches, gastrointestinal problems and sleepiness. If these side effects become too much, your doctor may want to change your treatment.
Researchers are also looking at new experimental drugs that aim to target two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. These include abnormal clumps of the protein fragment beta-amyloid and tangles of tau proteins inside brain cells. These are thought to be the main cause of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s.
One new medication is a human antibody that targets the protein beta-amyloid and helps to remove amyloid plaques from the brain. This is called aducanumab, and it was approved by the FDA in June 2021.
Another promising treatment is a new drug that targets the underlying pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease, a type of medication called a disease-modifying agent. This treatment, lecanemab, was recently approved by the FDA to treat people with early-stage Alzheimer’s.
This new medication, which is made by Biogen, slowed clinical decline in people with early-stage symptomatic Alzheimer’s. It slowed amyloid plaque accumulation on MRI scans and on PET tests, usually reaching normal levels after 18 months.
Aduhelm is the first drug in a new class of medications for Alzheimer’s. This class of drug, which is made by Biogen, blocks the enzymes that clip beta-amyloid from its parent compound.
Other therapies that can reduce the impact of Alzheimer’s on a person’s life include counseling, physical activity and social support. It is important to try non-drug strategies first, such as cognitive therapy and activities, before adding medication.
How to prevent alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by an abnormal build-up of protein in and around brain cells. One protein, amyloid, forms plaques that can block nerve cell communication. Another, tau, creates tangles that can cause brain damage and death.
Scientists don’t know exactly what causes this build-up, but it starts many years before symptoms appear. The build-up can start in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that helps control memory and learning. As the disease progresses, it affects other parts of the brain as well.
There are some things that you can do to help prevent Alzheimer’s. These include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.
Exercise can increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It can also reduce the risk of falls and other injuries that can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. This can help protect the brain and lower your risk for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Eat a balanced diet that includes foods from all five food groups, including whole grains and fruits and vegetables. It should be low in sugar and salt. It should also be high in fiber, which can slow the aging process and help you feel full.
Keep a regular exercise routine, including strength training and balance and coordination exercises. This can reduce the risk of head injuries from falling and help you stay alert and independent.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which is known to speed up the aging process and may increase your risk of dementia. Limit your consumption to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
Taking antidepressants or other medications, such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil, galantamine), can help slow the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia. They can also help you retain your memories by keeping the level of acetylcholine in your brain higher.
If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, talk with your doctor about how to reduce your risk of the disease. There are a number of treatments that can be used to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, and you can get involved in research to find new ways to prevent it.