Alzheimer’s disease is mainly a brain disorder that involves the deterioration of mental functions. This illness mainly results from the gradual shrinking of brain tissues. This type of brain disorder is also known as dementia or diffuse -brain- atrophy.
· The Causes and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
The actual cause of the disease is still unknown but several factors are believed to be responsible in the development of the brain disorder. The lack of neurochemical factors in the nerve cells is also one of the probable causes of this disease.
The genetics and aging problems are considered to be the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease. There are approximately nine out of ten thousand people affected with this malady and it is more often in women than in men. The disease primarily occurs in older people over the age of 65. However, there is very little chance for developing Alzheimer’s disease through inherited mutated genes.
The most common symptoms of the Alzheimer’s are as follows:
Impaired memory and thinking: The person feels difficulty in remembering very common things like his personal information, such as his place of birth or his occupation.
Difficulty in performing familiar tasks: The person with Alzheimer’s disease feels to have difficulty in performing his daily tasks i.e. eating, dressing, showering etc. A person who prepares a meal may forget to serve it or even can’t remember whether he has prepared it.
Problems with communication: The person gradually feels difficulty in recalling words or understanding the meanings of common words.
Disorientation and confusion: Patients may get lost in his own familiar place. Recognizing familiar places and situations becomes impossible for them. They even can’t understand simple commands or follow directions.
Poor and decreased judgment: The person feels difficulty in taking decisions. As the people affected are always in their own state of mind so they may also leave the house on a cold day without any winter garment or they may even go to the market wearing pajamas.
Misplacing and messing up with things: The person affected with A.D. usually forgets where he has kept his daily used things, such as glasses, keys, etc. The person may also mess up with things, such as breaking glasses, damaging house hold goods, etc.
Changes in behavior and personality: Patients have the tendency to swing their moods rapidly. The patients may even feel dramatic changes in their personality and can become fearful, angry, quiet, etc.
Become passive and lose interest: People generally tend to become passive and show no interest in their usual activities. Extra encouragement is required to make them become active.
Problems with abstract thinking: The person with Alzheimer’s disease loves to spend lots of time alone in some lonely place and shows less interest in interacting with other members of the family. They sometimes show symptoms of abstract thinking and also even feel difficulty in recognizing numbers or understanding what to do with them.
How do you know if that forgetfulness you’ve had is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, or just normal aging?
You may forget the occasional name or sometimes have trouble thinking of the right word to use. Maybe you walk into another room and wonder what you were looking for. Is it Alzheimer’s, aging, or just plain being distracted, doing one thing while you’re thinking of another?
There are signs to look out for, signs that tell you it’s time to get to the specialist and get checked out. Treatments for Alzheimer’s disease work best in the early stages so it’s vitally important to get an early diagnosis. An early diagnosis and early treatment can give you more years of normal functioning, and save you and your family tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Warning Signs…
Memory Loss: We all forget things like appointments, names, and phone numbers occasionally, and that’s normal. Forgetting freshly learned information more often can be a warning sign though.
Communication Problems: Having trouble finding the right word is not unusual, but the Alzheimer’s sufferer often forgets simple words and may use unusual words or strange descriptions. A camera may become that box that makes pictures.
Problems with everyday tasks: A person with Alzheimer’s disease can start having trouble doing jobs or hobbies that they’ve had many years of experience with. For example, they may be halfway through their favourite recipe and forget how to finish it though they’ve done it many times before.
Misplacing Things: This isn’t the normal losing the car keys, but more like putting things in unusual places such as the ice-cream in the oven, or clothes in the dishwasher.
Disorientation: A person with Alzheimer’s disease can get lost in their own street or stay sitting at the bus station because they can’t remember where they were going. They may not remember how to get home.
Impaired Judgement: Wearing a thick jacket on a blazing hot day or a swimsuit in the middle of winter could be a sign of dementia. Having poor judgement with money can be a symptom too, such as spending big amounts of money with telemarketers or buying products that aren’t needed.
Trouble with Complex Tasks: Having trouble with tasks that require abstract thinking like balancing a check book or playing a favourite game can be difficult for the Alzheimer’s sufferer.
Mood Swings, and Personality Changes: Mood changes for no apparent reason can be another symptom. The sufferer could be happy and cheerful one minute, and then suddenly become extremely angry over something that is quite trivial, or that they have imagined. They can become clingy with a family member, or suspicious of the neighbours.
Loss of Initiative: We can all get tired of housework or our business activities sometimes. But someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can become quite passive, watching television for hours, not wanting to do their normal activities, or spending more time sleeping.
Many more people are worried that they may have Alzheimer’s disease than actually get the disease. However, if you are suffering from these symptoms, see a specialist.