Alzheimer’s Disease is a mental disorder that affects memory recall, thinking ability, and even behavior. It is often a debilitating disease that affects both the person, as well as their family and friends. In fact, it can be heartbreaking to watch a loved one develop the disease, as it is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder. And loved ones are often left feeling helpless and hopeless.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease coincide with most other forms of dementia. They basically lose the ability to think, remember, and reason. Also, dementia can range from mild to severe. With Alzheimer’s Disease, the person typically progresses from mild to severe over their lifetime. And if enough time is granted, it may become severe enough to prevent the person from performing simple, daily tasks. And at this point, care is needed from an experienced professional.
Alzheimer’s Disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who documented a specific case in 1906. A female patient of his died from an unusually mental illness. She had the common symptoms, as we now know them, of Alzheimer’s Disease. After she died, he performed an examination of her brain and found many abnormal clumps and tangled fibers. These are now considered the main features of the disease.
What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?
It is not entirely known what causes Alzheimer’s Disease. However, it seems that it occurs due to a genetic mutation when it is early-onset. Meaning – if someone in your bloodline has or had the disease, it’s possible you will develop it as well. There are many instances of Alzheimer’s Disease happening later in life due to complex brain changes. Yet this can happen over the course of decades and is often difficult to follow. Basically, scientists believe it is a combination of genetics, environment and lifestyle factors.
Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease
The symptoms will range from person to person. But in most people, general cognition declines. This includes memory, impaired reasoning, and communication. Another indictor are brain scans, and these may help figure out some kind of cure as time goes on. The stages and the symptoms include:
Mild Alzheimer’s Disease
• Getting lost and aimless wandering
• Trouble handling money and paying bills
• Taking longer to repeat daily tasks
• Personality and behavioral changes
• Repeating themselves
Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms
• Memory loss and confusion
• Problems recognizing friends and family
• Unable to learn new things
• Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
• Impulsive behavior
Severe Alzheimer’s Disease
• Shrunken brain tissue
• Cannot communicate
• Completely dependent on others
• Body shuts down
Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment
Any disease that has to do with the brain will be incredibly complex and different for the individual. As such, it’s unlikely that now or in the future, any one drug or treatment will successfully treat it. So far, researchers encourage focusing on preventative measures. Although they hope to develop therapies to target certain activity in the brain. That said, there are still many options for those looking to help their loved ones deal with the disease. These include:
Medication – There are many medications that successfully treat the symptoms of the disease. They simply regulate neurotransmitters and other chemical messengers in the brain. So they may improve memory, thinking, and communication skills short-term.
Behavioral Therapy – This course of action helps the caregivers more than the person with Alzheimer’s. Caregivers learn how to deal with aggression, anxiety, sleeplessness, agitation, and wandering to help their patients.
More research needs to be done for Alzheimer’s Disease. And its possible researchers need a completely different course of action. Trying to stop Alzheimer’s Disease before it starts is ideal. But this takes time to understand the underlying disease processes. There are current studies testing several possible therapies, including drug therapy, cognitive training, physical activity, immunization, and general brain understanding.