What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

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What is Alzheimers Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a chronic condition that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It doesn’t have a cure, but there are medicines that can help ease symptoms and slow how quickly the disease gets worse.

It’s caused by an abnormal build-up of two proteins, called plaques and tangles. This build-up blocks chemical messengers that normally allow brain cells to communicate with each other.

That cause alzheimer

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins inside and outside brain cells. This leads to plaques (clumps of beta-amyloid) and tangles (twisted strands of tau protein). These toxic changes in the brain damage nerve cells, which die. This leads to memory loss, thinking and behavior problems.

Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes these harmful proteins to develop, but they believe that certain risk factors may increase your chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These factors include age, a family history of dementia, and having low levels of chemicals called neurotransmitters that send messages between brain cells.

People with Alzheimer’s have a higher than average amount of amyloid plaques, which are sticky clumps of proteins that build up around brain cells. They also have more tangles of tau protein in their brains, which can disrupt the way that they communicate with other nerve cells.

The amyloid plaques and tangles damage neurons, which cause the memory and thinking problems seen in Alzheimer’s patients. These damages typically appear in the area of the brain that affects learning and memory. However, different areas of the brain are affected in unusual forms of Alzheimer’s.

Scientists have also found that certain risk factors, such as a history of heart and stroke problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and poor diet, can increase your chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Ongoing research will help us better understand how reducing these risk factors can prevent the development of Alzheimer’s.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s is often due to a genetic mutation, although the condition can also be caused by health, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Most of these factors can be changed or altered, which can decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Late-onset Alzheimer’s is often due to more complex brain changes that occur over decades. These changes may include genetic and environmental factors, but researchers aren’t yet sure what the factors are.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition, which means that it gets worse over time. This makes it harder for affected people to do routine tasks, like preparing meals and managing money. It can also make them forget things and become confused in familiar settings.

Signs of alzheimer’s disease

The first signs of Alzheimer’s disease are forgetfulness, loss of memory and difficulty remembering recent events or conversations. As the disease progresses, a person may not be able to recognize their own family and friends or find their way to familiar places. This is a very serious condition that needs to be treated as soon as possible.

There are several ways that Alzheimer’s disease can be diagnosed. Some of these include a physical and neurological exam, lab tests, and brain imaging. The doctor may also ask about any medications you’re taking or if you’ve had any injuries to your head.

Other common signs of Alzheimer’s are changes in personality and behavior, loss of ability to perform everyday tasks such as eating or walking, and problems with sleeping. These changes can make a person feel extremely anxious, confused or fearful.

These symptoms are usually more severe at a later stage, when the disease has caused brain cells to die. However, there are medicines that can slow the progress of the disease or ease symptoms for people with Alzheimer’s.

A medical professional can diagnose Alzheimer’s with a physical and neurological exam, laboratory tests, and brain imaging. Some of these tests, such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan or positron emission tomography (PET), can show areas of the brain that are affected by Alzheimer’s.

This can help identify the type of Alzheimer’s that a person has and give healthcare providers and family members important information about the progression of the disease. They can then decide how to manage the symptoms and provide support to people with the disease and their caregivers.

Another sign of Alzheimer’s is a decrease in the level of a chemical messenger, acetylcholine, which is important for alertness and memory. In some cases, a medicine called cholinesterase inhibitors can be used to boost the levels of acetylcholine in the brain. These medications are not a cure for Alzheimer’s, but they can make the symptoms less severe and help people live more comfortably with the disease.

The best thing to do if you notice any of these early signs of Alzheimer’s is to contact your doctor and schedule an appointment. This can help you get the right diagnosis and treatment, learn about community resources and plan for the future.

Treatment for alzheimer’s disease

A variety of treatments are available to slow the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and offer some relief for patients and their families. These drugs help to reduce cognitive decline, and some may also improve behavioral symptoms such as depression and aggression.

Drugs that prevent the breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine in the brain are one type of treatment used to treat Alzheimer’s. These medications are called cholinesterase inhibitors. Three of these drugs, donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne) and rivastigmine (Exelon), are FDA-approved to treat mild to severe Alzheimer’s disease.

Another drug, lecanemab (Eisai and Biogen), recently was granted accelerated approval by the FDA for people with early-stage symptomatic Alzheimer’s. This medication has been shown to moderately slow the rate of clinical decline in these early-stage cases.

Doctors can prescribe other drugs for people with Alzheimer’s, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. These drugs can also help to calm agitation and improve sleep for some patients.

Some of these drugs may cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, confusion and falls. So healthcare providers typically prescribe these medications for short periods of time and only after your loved one has tried other treatment options.

Memantine is a new medication that works by reducing the amount of a neurotransmitter called glutamate in the brain. This is a key substance in learning and memory, but too much glutamate can damage cells and even lead to death.

These medications are available as tablets that dissolve in your mouth or as injections. Memantine is usually prescribed for a limited period of time to stabilize some of the most severe symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Other drug therapies can also be helpful, such as anticonvulsant and antipsychotic medications. These are used to treat agitation, depression and hallucinations.

In the final stage of Alzheimer’s, dementia symptoms become so severe that patients no longer have the ability to live independently and need extensive care. They need assistance with all activities of daily living, including eating, sitting up and walking, and their speech becomes limited. They may need hospice care to ease their discomfort.

How to prevent alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a serious brain disorder that disrupts memory, thinking and behavior. It causes people to lose the ability to function and needs care and support for many years.

The best way to prevent alzheimer’s is by making smart lifestyle choices. These include staying active, eating a healthy diet and avoiding substances that may interfere with brain health.

Getting regular medical checkups is a key step in protecting yourself against Alzheimer’s and other conditions that affect memory and thinking. Your doctor can tell you if you have any medical problems that increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Your doctor can also advise you on medications that may help slow or ease symptoms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. These medicines may include acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil (Namzaric) and memantine (Namenda).

You can also try cognitive training. These activities can improve your mental function and bolster your brain’s “reserve.”

One study found that people who participated in cognitive training for several years were more likely to avoid Alzheimer’s-like symptoms. They also reported less anxiety and depression.

Other studies showed that exercise, a good diet and weight loss can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These habits can also protect your heart and other organs, which can decrease your risk of developing other diseases that affect the brain.

In addition, if you have any other health concerns, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, your doctor can recommend treatment. This can include changing your diet, exercising more or taking medications to manage these problems.

If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, talk to your doctor about getting tested. You may need to see a genetic specialist, who can do a test and help you decide whether or not to take medicine to prevent the condition.

Keeping track of your family’s medical history can also be helpful. Your doctor can ask about any changes that have happened recently.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help you live longer and better, and it can improve the quality of life for you and your loved ones. It can also save money on healthcare costs in the future.

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