Alzheimer’s disease is a serious illness that causes memory loss, personality changes and problems with daily activities. It is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors.
The most important risk factor is age. People over 65 are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as people under 65.
That cause alzheimer
There are a variety of factors that can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The most common factor is age. Almost two-thirds of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are over 65 years old, but there is a very rare early-onset form of the disease that can occur in people 30 to 60.
Genetics are also important. Those with a family history of the condition are more likely to develop it. Some types of Alzheimer’s, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome, are linked to abnormal gene mutations.
Other conditions can cause a change in brain cells that may be linked to Alzheimer’s, including vascular diseases like heart disease and diabetes. These conditions can increase your risk of developing dementia, and research is ongoing to see if there are ways to reduce your risk.
Lifestyle changes can also help lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and avoiding smoking are all good practices. Keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control can also reduce your risk.
Another important risk factor is being overweight or obese. This is associated with higher amounts of plaques and tangles in the brain.
The more plaques and tangles that accumulate in the brain, the more difficult it is to remember things or process information. It is also harder for the brain to make new nerve cells.
As these plaques and tangles progress, they can cause brain cells to die. When this happens, your loved one’s mental and physical abilities decline. They may not be able to drive, work or socialize as they once did.
Memory lapses are the most common sign of early-stage Alzheimer’s. They’re usually short-lived and don’t interfere with their everyday life, but they will get worse over time. For example, your loved one might forget where they left their keys or who their friends are.
They may also start to misplace things, put them in places that don’t make sense or repeat statements and questions over and over. They might be more irritable and anxious, as well as experience a loss of sleep.
Signs of alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that causes memory loss, confusion and changes in personality. It can cause a person to lose independence and eventually live in a nursing home or other care facility. The symptoms can get worse and become harder to recognise over time.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s usually begin after age 65, although they can start earlier in some people. This is called “early-onset” Alzheimer’s. The symptoms may be more noticeable to family members and friends, but a diagnosis needs to be made by a doctor.
It’s also important to note that many people have some forgetfulness from time to time and this can look similar to a mild form of Alzheimer’s, so it’s important to get an early diagnosis. This way, you can start treatment sooner and slow down the progression of the disease.
The first signs of Alzheimer’s are problems with memory – in particular, difficulties recalling recent events. This is because the damage in Alzheimer’s affects the hippocampus, which is responsible for day-to-day memory.
Other signs include difficulty finding the right words and trouble understanding visual images or spatial relationships. It is also possible to experience changes in behaviour and mood, which can be difficult to recognise.
These changes can make it hard for them to remember details of their daily routine, such as where they left their keys or what time they have to leave. They may also lose interest in their activities or hobbies and need help with their usual tasks.
They might also have problems getting around, especially when they’re in an unfamiliar place. They might forget things they need, such as their medication or where they put it.
Some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be caused by a decrease in the levels of a chemical messenger in the brain, which sends messages between brain cells (called neurotransmitters). There are drugs that can curb this breakdown. These are used to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s and may help to improve your loved one’s quality of life.
Identifying the signs of Alzheimer’s is important because it can allow you to plan ahead for your loved one’s future. This could include taking out a long-term care insurance policy or planning for their care needs. It can also give you the opportunity to talk about end-of-life issues, such as financial planning or advance directives.
Treatment for alzheimer’s disease
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are treatments that can help slow or ease symptoms and improve a person’s quality of life. Treatments also may help prevent a person from developing the disease in the first place.
Drugs that boost levels of a chemical messenger (acetylcholine) in the brain can sometimes help people with Alzheimer’s think and remember better. These drugs are called cholinesterase inhibitors, and they can be prescribed to treat mild-to-moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
These medications work to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, which is important for memory, thought and judgment. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, acetylcholine levels decrease. Taking these medicines with food might help reduce some side effects, such as nausea and vomiting.
Some of these drugs also have been found to help people with dementia feel calmer and less anxious. They can also reduce aggression and restlessness.
Antipsychotics can help with the behavioural changes in dementia, including agitation and depression. They are only given to people with Alzheimer’s if other medicines have not worked or if there is a risk of harm to themselves or others.
Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), are also used to help people with dementia feel relaxed and sleep more easily. They are usually only used for short periods as they can cause dizziness, drowsiness and confusion.
There are also new experimental drugs being tested that aim to reduce amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain. These treatments work by targeting the enzymes that clip beta-amyloid from its parent protein, amyloid precursor protein (APP).
They also target the pathways through which beta-amyloid fragments form into plaques. This allows some patients to reach a point where they can’t build new plaques anymore, and this may slow the disease.
A monoclonal antibody drug, called lecanemab, was recently approved for use in patients with early-stage symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease. It’s the first medication that the FDA has approved to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s by reducing amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain.
The drug works by targeting amyloid and tau tangles in the brain, two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. In clinical trials, lecanemab slowed cognitive decline by 27% over 18 months compared with those who received a placebo. However, it is too soon to say whether this medication will slow the progression of the disease for people with Alzheimer’s at a later stage.
How to prevent alzheimer’s disease
As you age, some of your brain cells may become damaged. This is called dementia and causes memory loss, trouble thinking, and problems with communication. But you can take steps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
For example, you can do things to make sure your blood pressure is healthy, manage your cholesterol and diabetes, and avoid high levels of the amino acid homocysteine. This will keep your heart and arteries strong, and lower your risk of other health problems.
Scientists have found that Alzheimer’s disease is linked to two abnormal structures called plaques and tangles in the brain. These plaques and tangles block nerve cells’ ability to communicate with each other and cause other problems.
But it’s not clear what causes these abnormalities. Researchers believe that they somehow disrupt how your brain cells work, like they would in a factory.
When these plaques and tangles get out of control, they cause damage to the brain that leads to memory loss and other symptoms. As the plaques and tangles grow, they spread to other areas of the brain.
If you’re worried about Alzheimer’s, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can do tests and talk to you about treatments that may help you.
Your doctor can also talk to you about your family history of Alzheimer’s. This is an important factor because it shows whether there are any genes that may predispose you to the disease.
You can help lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by avoiding certain behaviors and eating the right foods and staying physically active. For example, adding a few strength training sessions to your weekly routine may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by half.
A good diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, is key for brain health and preventing dementia. It’s also essential to maintain a healthy weight.
It’s important to avoid smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and other unhealthy behaviors that can have a negative impact on your brain. These habits can contribute to heart disease and other health problems that increase your risk of Alzheimer’s, as well as other types of dementia.