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Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that affects the brain. It is a progressive disease, which means that it gets worse over time. It’s a form of dementia, accounting for a lot of cases. This article will discuss some things that you may not know about Alzheimer’s disease!
Unfortunately, genes play a big part in whether or not you’ll be struggling with this disease. The caregivers working at Three Oaks Hospice know how essential it is to research family history, but also get proper help if it starts affecting your loved one or you. Proper care will ensure they still live the best lives they possibly can.
Inheriting the disease may not be the only way to get it. In fact, most cases are not hereditary. But if you have a family member with Alzheimer’s, your risk of developing the disease is greater than average.
There are a number of genes that have been linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. If you have one or more of these genes, it doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop the disease. But it does increase your chances.
If you’re worried about your risk of Alzheimer’s, talk to your doctor. They can help you understand your risks and what you can do to stay healthy as you age.
The Most Common Form Of Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all cases. Dementia is a general term for the loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease progresses slowly in three general stages: mild (sometimes called early-stage), moderate (middle-stage), and severe (late-stage).
Although there is no one test that can diagnose Alzheimer’s, the doctor will likely perform a physical exam, review your medical history, and order tests to rule out other conditions. If the person has dementia, the doctor will try to identify the underlying cause. Many times, Alzheimer’s disease is not the only cause of dementia. Other causes include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and vascular dementia.
For example, someone with Alzheimer’s may also have vascular dementia, which occurs when there is reduced blood flow to the brain. This can happen if the person has had a stroke or mini-stroke.
Luckily, you can still make life feel nice for your loved one. There are fun games for dementia patients that help them cope easier with this issue. It’s important to emphasize that this disease doesn’t mean the end!
There are certain symptoms always connected to Alzheimer’s disease. These are the following:
- problems with memory, especially forgetting recently learned information
- problems with language, such as difficulty finding the right word or understanding what people are saying
- problems with executive functioning, which include things like planning and problem solving
- visuospatial difficulties, which involve issues with perception and coordination
- personality changes and mood swings.
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, symptoms become more severe. People in the moderate stage of the disease may experience the following symptoms:
- greater memory loss and confusion, as well as difficulty completing familiar tasks
- serious problems with language skills; they may stop speaking or be unable to follow or engage in a conversation
- increasing trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- new problems with purposeful movements (apraxia)
- confusion about time and place
- misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps to find them again.
People in the severe stage of Alzheimer’s disease are typically unable to care for themselves. They may also have the following symptoms:
- complete memory loss of recent events, people, and places
- difficulty speaking or understanding language
- being unable to control movement (uncontrollable shaking or muscle stiffness)
- severe changes in mood and behavior, including delusions and hallucinations.
Knowing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s is important so that you can get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. This can help to slow the progression of the disease.
This form of dementia can be caused by a number of things, including aging, stroke, head injuries, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and substance abuse. For example, someone who experiences a traumatic brain injury may be at an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s later in life. Scientists are still working to understand all of the potential causes of this disease.
There are also some common risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s. These include having a family history of the disease, down syndrome, and certain genetic mutations. Additionally, women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than men.
It’s Not An Old People’s Disease
Alzheimer’s can manifest itself among people as young as their 30s and 40s, though it’s most commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 65. In fact, early onset Alzheimer’s is thought to account for around five percent of all diagnoses.
The vast majority of cases are what’s called late-onset Alzheimer’s, however, which typically occurs in people over the age of 65. That said, even late-onset Alzheimer’s is not purely a disease of old age; research suggests that genetics may play a role in its development.
So if you or someone you know is experiencing memory loss or other cognitive changes, don’t write it off as a normal part of aging. For example, forgetting where you parked your car or what you had for lunch is not necessarily a sign of Alzheimer’s. But if you or a loved one are experiencing more serious memory loss, changes in personality, or difficulty with basic tasks, it’s important to see a doctor.
It Can Be Prevented
This doesn’t apply to all cases, but you can do some things in order to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s, or even prevent it altogether. A lot has to do with living a healthy lifestyle which means eating right, exercising, and keeping your mind active. If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, there are some things you can do to lower your risk.
For example, one study showed that people who ate a Mediterranean diet had a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The diet consists of lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish. Another study found that people who did crossword puzzles four days a week had a lower risk of developing the disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a serious issue affecting millions of people and it’s unfortunately hereditary meaning you can get it through genes. It’s the most common form of dementia and has many recognizable symptoms. There are some common causes helping you slow down the progression. It’s important to note that not only old people can get it and if you live right, but you can also slow it down or even prevent it!