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Alzheimer’s Disease - A Brief about the Progressive Disease

Stages of Alzheimer Disease
21.Sep.2021

Are you aware of dementia? Then you must be knowing about Alzheimer's!

Alzheimer's is the recognized form of dementia that affects the brain - the storage of memory. Dementia generalizes loss of memory and other cognitive abilities that are essential for the living of an individual. It is believed that it occurs vastly in old age people. However, Alzheimer's is a risk factor of increasing age.

This memory impairing disease is progressive, and from the past studies, it is found that an average of 2 out of 3 people globally are either aware or have little knowledge of Alzheimer's.

How to Identify Alzheimer's?

A person in the initial phase of Alzheimer's exhibits signs and symptoms like:

  • Misplacing things
  • Difficulty in remembering the newly learned information
  • Forgetting already known information
  • Basic forgetfulness
  • Being dependant
  • Damage of organs like tissues in the brain
  • Unpredictable behavior
  • The perplexity of time and location in persons
  • Cognitive deficits like difficulty in reasoning, complex tasks, and judgment, which results in difficulty in dealings with money
  • Decreased understanding of safety and risks
  • Hassle in thinking capabilities and
  • Scope of more writing and listening errors

What would be the Causes of Alzheimer's?

One of the primary reasons for Alzheimer's is the abnormal protein like amyloid, tau build-up around the brain cells that form plaque and tangles in the brain cells. Decrease in the levels of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine that sends messages or signals between the brain cells.

Experts say different brain areas shrink over time, and the first area is the area of memories.

Family history: One of the reasons is considered to be family inheritance. If one of your ancestors had the disease, and the chain continues till the present generations. You have the risk of inheriting the same.

Several other essential factors counted as reasons for Alzheimer's are:

Improper lifestyle, severe head injuries, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol, hearing loss, untreated depression, loneliness, or social isolation.

Stages of Alzheimer’s:

Alzheimer’s does not black out the memory of a person at once. It happens in stages that ranges from mild to moderate and then comes the stage of cognitive decline.

Early Stage:

In the early stage people might perform their activities as usual independently. They might forget familiar words or locations of routine objects. The symptoms are not much identified as they seem routine actions. However, your friends, relatives or the doctor you consult can identify these symptoms.

Symptoms:

  • Difficulty in the new names
  • Losing the objects often
  • Trouble in planning and organizing things.
  • Difficulty in performing public tasks or work settings.
  • Trouble remembering the notes just read or seen.

Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s:

This stage lasts long and is considered the longest stage as it lasts for many years. The person at this stage requires more high level care as the behavior of the person becomes unpredictable. He becomes a frustrated or angry soul, may get confused with words, refuse to bath. The nerve cells get damaged in the brain and the person will not be able to perform his routine tasks, express his thoughts without assistance.

Symptoms:

  • A person in middle stage will be unable to recall their own information like telephone number, address, and other personal information.
  • Confusion about the day name in the week, day and nights.
  • Trouble controlling bowels and bladder.

Late-Stage Alzheimer’s:

It is the final stage of Alzheimer’s where a person loses the ability to respond to the environment. Communication becomes a pain for them as memory and cognitive skills continue to worsen. A person might completely reliable on other person for basic communication and routine living.

Symptoms:

  • Requires round the clock assistance
  • Changes in physical abilities like walking, sitting, and swallowing.
  • More prone to infections, especially pneumonia.
  • Persons at this stage can still benefit through soothing music, reassurance through gentle touch by care givers or their family.

How is the Alzheimer’s condition treated?

The behavioural and psychological treatment symptoms of Alzheimer’s include

  • Increased agitation, anxiety, hallucinations, delusions, and aggression, etc.
  • There are certified medications prescribed by professionals as per the patient’s clinical conditions and circumstances.
  • Other than medicines treatment involves a few therapies and activities like cognitive stimulation therapy like participating in group activities, mind exercises, and problem solving skills to improve memory.

Rational rehabilitation:

The patient will seek the help of a trained professional such as occupational therapist to restore or take care of the fading memory.

These activities or exercises helps your brain stay active, sharp, and keep your memory safe.

Preventions:

Preventions for Alzheimer’s are not ruled out as the exact reason for Alzheimer’s is not yet known. However, a healthy life style will keep your health and keeps you away from the threatening disease like Alzheimer’s.

A few other precautions that are meant to keep you away from Alzheimer’s is

  • Eating healthy food, balance in diet with noticeable portion of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Maintaining normal blood pressure
  • Regular intense exercise for at least 150 minutes.
  • Restrict the quantity of intake of alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.

Alzheimer’s impact on people:

Alzheimer’s disease is the third leading cause of death in high income countries.

Dementia kills about 1.5 million annually worldwide and impacts on more than 50 million people.

As per Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.8 million Americans are living with this disease. With the increase of senior citizens, the prevalence of the disease is also increasing along with the expenses.

Experts decided on ten breakthroughs that potentially treat the Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Agents that target Amyloid metabolism in prodromal.
  • Drugs that treat the disease.
  • Anti-Tau treatments.
  • Agents that target protein misfolds and clearance pathways
  • Solutions aiming to reduce neuro-inflammation
  • Cell-based treatments
  • Neuro engineering treatments.
  • Gene modifications
  • Agents that target mitochondria energy production
  • Use of cognitive enhancers.

However, challenges remain in achieving and delivering the predicted new Alzheimer’s therapies to patients for treatment.

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