Alzheimer’s disease is a certain strain of dementia that can interfere with the behavioural patterns, memory and thinking abilities. The symptoms often develop pretty slowly and worsen over time and can often become extremely severe and interfere with your daily tasks. Dementia (a generalised term for loss of cognitive abilities and memory) is often caused by Alzheimer’s, and over 60-80% of dementia is caused by Alzheimer’s. Unlike popular belief, Alzheimer’s is not exclusively linked to old age though increasing age is the most significant risk factor, early onset Alzheimer’s is often linked to younger adults.

Alzheimer’s progresses over time, and the symptoms worsen over the years. While in the early stages, the memory loss is milder, with later stages, responding to the environment and conversational skills are affected. While the disease has no known cure at this moment, there are some options for the treatment of symptoms. The procedures generally help to slow down the deterioration and can help to improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms

The symptoms have a slow onset and can start with people having trouble recalling incidents that have just occurred or translating their thoughts into speech. With time, the conditions worsen, and in later stages, people are unable to live alone or take care of themselves. Alzheimer’s has three steps, mild-moderate and severe with characteristic symptoms.

Mild

This stage lasts 2-4 years. The symptoms include:

  •    Loss of energy and drive to do simple tasks.
  •    Lack of energy at work and reduced interest in participating in social scenarios, preferring a more reclusive lifestyle.
  •    Loss of memories that happened recently like conversation and incidents that have taken place immediately.
  •    Issues with language problems such as translating thoughts into speech or comprehension of what others are saying.
  •    Problems with coordination like using familiar objects and writing.
  •    Hard time handling daily tasks like following recipes or financial management.
  •    Mood swings, lack of interest in general and depression.
  •    Issues with driving and getting lost in familiar routes.

Moderate

This stage leads to a worsening of the issues of memory loss and can interfere with daily life. The stage generally lasts anywhere between 2-10 years.

  •    People often start forgetting particular details about their lives like their high school, year of marriage
  •    They may not be able to recognise their friends or remember their family members.
  •    They may forget where they left things and aren’t able to retrace back steps to where they kept them
  •    Speech that appears to be rambling
  •    Confusing words and using wrong words due to an inability to recall the one they want to use.
  •    Confusing up the time and place
  •    Getting lost in familiar places
  •    Inability to remember why or how they got to a specific place
  •    Inability to reason what they need to wear for a particular weather
  •    Heightened emotional states of anger or sadness and occasional lashing out at caregivers and family members.
  •    Issues with sleeping, falling asleep or deep sleep.
  •    Certain types of delusion that people are trying to hurt them
  •    Wandering into unfamiliar places
  •    A feeling of frustration or depression due to the loss of control of their lives.

Severe

This is the most severe stage and can last from 1-3 years.

  •    Confusion about the past and present situations.
  •    Problems with expressing themselves, remembering and processing information.
  •    Issues with swallowing food or water and inability to control bowels and bladder.
  •    Extremes of mood swings.
  •    Inability to move around on their own.
  •    Auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations.
  •    Issues with skin infections, seizures and weight loss.

Risk factors leading to Alzheimer’s

Age

The biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s is the advanced age with most individuals being 65 or older. After the age of 65, the risk doubles per 5 years and after 85, it reaches up to 1/3.

Family history

Alzheimer’s can be hereditary with people having a family member (parent or sibling) with Alzheimer’s being more prone to developing the disease and the risks increase with the number of family members showing symptoms.  

Other risk factors

  •    Head injuries

Head injuries have been linked to increased risk of dementia, and it can be a good idea to protect your brain while driving, participating in sports and “fall-proofing.”

  •    Heart and head connection

The brain health is linked to heart health. Risks of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia are increased by conditions that damage blood vessels and heart.

  •    African-American and Latinos are at an increased risk as compared to the elderly white people.
  •    Healthy ageing overall can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s with consumption of a balanced, healthy diet, social activeness, avoiding excess alcohol and tobacco and exercising the mind.

With proper diet and medication, you can control the degree of Alzheimer’s symptoms. Visit https://voucherbucket.co.uk for the best deals on healthcare sites.