Alzheimer’s disease or AD is a neurodegenerative disease that meddles with a person’s memory, cognitive thinking, and behavioral capabilities. The disease is a type of memory loss or dementia that develops gradually but worsens over time. The condition especially becomes chronic when it begins to interfere with the patient’s daily activities. Alzheimer’s is believed to be a progressive disease that is known to aggravate with the aging of the patient. However, it is not just a disease of the old. Several people under the age of 65 reportedly have the onset of the Alzheimer’s disease.
Just like other parts of the body, the brain undergoes certain alterations as we age. The most common one being slowed thinking and problem remembering things, etc. While all of these are common problems associated with old age, one of the most distinguishing symptoms of Alzheimer’s is when a person has great difficulty remembering new information. This is generally caused due to degeneration in the part of the brain that is responsible for learning. As the disease progresses, symptoms like disorientation, mood swings, behavioural changes, anxiousness, confusion, paranoia, severe memory loss, and other cognitive issues begin emerging. While it is hard to determine the potential signs of Alzheimer’s, it may be more evident and obvious to the family and friends of the patient.
In its infancy, the symptom of Alzheimer’s begins with mild memory loss that later develops into the inability of the patient to even continue a conversation and respond appropriately to the environment. The treatment options for a disease like Alzheimer’s is focused towards slowing down the progression of the disease and improving the overall quality of life of the patient and their caregivers. Most treatments for Alzheimer’s are dedicated towards exploring newer and better ways of managing the disease, delaying its onset, and preventing it from developing.
While it is a fact that there is no proven cause of Alzheimer’s, it is observed that approximately 70% of the risk is genetic. Other possible causes may include head injury, hypertension, stress, or depression. The disease is known to develop as a result of tangles or plaques in the brain. The best possible diagnosis of the disease is set to be based on the history of the disease, behavioural observations, cognitive and psychological scanning, clinical imaging, and blood tests. While most of these diagnostic methods are effective, most symptoms initially get mistaken for natural ageing. It is, therefore, recommended that a patient with the onset of Alzheimer’s goes for a definite diagnosis in the form of brain tissue examination before ruling out the possibility of the disease. This is actually why most experts suggest and encourage people of all ages who experience dementia like symptoms to get early diagnosis followed by recommended treatment.
While there is no certain method that can prevent Alzheimer’s, specialist suggests that one should keep modifiable factors like diet, regular exercise, intellectual activities, cardiovascular risks, and stress levels in check to avoid developing the condition. People at a higher risk of developing the disease should, therefore, avoid frequent use of unnecessary medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, smoking, and alcohol to keep the possibility of getting the disease at bay.