Alzheimer’s disease is the most common explanation for dementia an endless decline in thinking, behavior, and social skills that affects a person’s ability to function independently.
Alzheimer’s isn’t a traditional part of aging. the best known risk factor is increasing age, and therefore the majority of individuals with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older.
Alzheimer’s disease is taken into account to be younger-onset Alzheimer’s if it affects an individual under 65. Younger onset also can be mentioned as early onset Alzheimer’s. People with younger onset Alzheimer’s are often within the early, middle, or late stage of the disease.
About 5.8 million people 65 years of age and older in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease. Of these, 80% are 75 years of age and above. Of the approximately 50 million people with dementia worldwide, between 60% and 70% are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease.
10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Facing challenges in planning or solving problems.
- Handling Difficulty completing familiar tasks.
- Mostly confused with time or place.
- Conflict identification visual images and spatial relationships.
- Problems with words in speaking or writing.
- Slow thinking and sometimes problems with remembering certain things.
- Low or poor judgment.
- Withdrawing from work or social work.
- Mood and personality changes.
Stages Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease occurs in a small number of people at an early age, it starts when they are in their 30s or 40s. It is estimated that people live an average of 8 years after their symptoms appear. But this disease can progress slowly in some people and quickly in some people. Some people live with the disease for up to 20 years.
The disease is usually seen to affect only after the age of 65 years and above and only 10% of cases occur in people younger than this.
Below we will discuss the 3 types of stage Alzheimer’s and some of the symptoms that characterize them:
People with early stage Alzheimer’s develop memory problems and cognitive difficulties that can include the following:
- Forgetting the correct word or name.
- Taking more than usual to perform daily tasks.
- Forgetting the place where the goods were kept.
- Experiencing trouble planning or organizing.
Mid-stage Alzheimer’s is the longest stage and usually lasts for many years. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer’s will need more care. It can be the following symptoms:
- Changes in sleep schedule, such as falling asleep during the day and being restless at night.
- Forgetting events or personal history.
- Difficulty recognizing friends or family.
- Difficulty dealing with new situations.
Symptoms of dementia are severe in the late stages of the disease. Individuals lose the ability to react to their surroundings, interact and eventually control movement. They can still say words or phrases, but the pain becomes difficult to communicate. Thought and cognitive abilities continue to deteriorate over time, significant personality changes occur and extensive care is required. This can lead to:
- Being unable to leave the bed all the time or most of the time.
- Required attendant for personal care.
- Have difficulty communicating.
- Experience changes in physical abilities, including eventually swallowing, sitting, and walking.
- Become vulnerable to infections, especially pneumonia.
- Losing awareness of recent experience as well as of their surroundings.
Causes and Risk Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease:
The exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not yet fully understood. But on a basic level, brain proteins fail to function normally, which disrupts the functioning of brain cells (neurons) and triggers a chain of toxic events. Neurons become damaged and lose connection to each other and eventually die.
In a person with Alzheimer’s, there are fewer and fewer nerve cells and connections in the brain tissue, and small deposits, known as plaques and tangles, build upon the nerve tissue.
According to scientists, for most people, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a mixture of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors that affect the brain over time.
Fewer than 1% of the time Alzheimer’s is affected by particular genetic changes that virtually ensure that a person will develop the disease. These unique events normally occur in disease onset in middle age.
As time goes on, the number of brain cells affected, the chemical messengers involved in sending messages, or signals (called neurotransmitters) between brain cells, also decrease.
Plaque develops between the dying cells of the brain. They are made of a protein called beta-amyloid and, meanwhile, have tangles within nerve cells. They are made of another protein, called tau.
Over time different areas of the brain shrink and usually the first areas to be affected are those responsible for memories.
The brain cells also form two types of flaws:
- Beta-amyloid plaques – Beta-amyloid is a fragment of a larger protein. When these fragments cluster together, they exert toxic effects on neurons and disrupt cell-to-cell communication. These clusters form large deposits called amyloid plaques, which also contain other cellular debris.
- Neurofibrillary tangles – These are twisted fibers inside brain cells that prevent nutrients and other important things from moving from one part of the cell to another.
Plaque and tangles damage the healthy brain cells around them. Damaged cells die, and the brain shrinks. All of these changes cause symptoms of Alzheimer’s, such as memory loss, speech problems, confusion, and mood swings.
Brain cells affected by the disease also make reduced amounts of chemicals called neurotransmitters that nerves use to send messages to each other.
Scientists do not know whether these brain cell changes lead to or are caused by Alzheimer’s.
What are the risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease?
Although it is not yet known what causes Alzheimer’s disease, there are certain factors that are known to increase your risk of developing the condition. Research has linked the disease with:
People whose family members already have Alzheimer’s are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s themselves. For more information visit the Alzheimer’s Society website
As you get older, your risk of Alzheimer’s increases. For most people, it begins to increase after age 65.
According to a study, there are four new diagnoses per 1,000 people aged 65 to 74 years, 32 new diagnoses per 1,000 people aged 75 to 84 years, and per 1,000 people aged 85 and older. There are 76 new diagnoses on people.
Women are more prone to this disease because they generally live longer than men.
People with this disorder often get Alzheimer’s disease in their 30s and 40s. The reason behind this is a genetic mutation that can cause amyloid plaques to build up in the brain over time with Down syndrome, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease in some people.
For more information, you can visit the website of the Down Syndrome Association to have more information about Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease.
People who have severe head injuries have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Several such studies found that people aged 50 or older who had a brain injury had an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The risk is increased in people with more severe and multiple TBIs. Some studies also indicate that the risk may be greatest within the first six months to two years after a TBI.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Drinking large amounts of alcohol.
5 ways to prevent Alzheimer’s:
- Eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables per day that include eating a healthy, balanced diet.
- Quit smoking.
- Drink alcohol as little as possible.
- Daily exercise.
- Control your diabetes and blood pressure.
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