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Alzheimer’s is a progressive and most common type of dementia affecting about 44 million people around the world. Only one in 4 victims have been discovered to be diagnosed. The symptoms of dementia aggravate slowly and rise with time and may result in unfitness or interfere with daily tasks.
The term Alzheimer acknowledged Aloysius Alzheimer (some called him Alois Alzheimer). He was a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist who was the first soul to report “presenile dementia” later dubbed Alzheimer’s disease by Emil Kraepelin.
Emil Kraepelin according to some pundits was the founder of modern scientific psychiatry, psychopharmacology and psychiatric genetics. He was also a colleague of Alzheimer.
Alzheimer’s is sometimes confused with dementia but instead, it is a type of dementia and not the whole concept itself. Dementia is an encompassed definition of an incidence resulting from brain injuries or diseases that dissemble memory, thinking and behavior. These invariably alter daily activities and events. Then what is Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia associated with symptoms like hallucination and responsible for 60 to 80 percent of mankind dementedness.
It is estimated that there are roughly 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease. In the U.S., the number is 5.5 million people of all ages have this disease. About 3.3 million of them are women and two million men.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are most common in Western Europe and least common in Sub-Saharan Africa. African-Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia and Hispanics are about 1.5 times in contrast with whites.
Alzheimer’s disease symptoms or indicants are molded by the progressive phase and become deadlier as development build up. Symptoms that can be suss out peculiarly during the early stage may include:
- Forgetting recently learned information
- Debarment of plan recrudesce such as a recipe, or problems involving numbers.
- Difficulty in tackling home chores.
- Forgetting dates, season and time of the day.
- Difficulty in driving as a result of an inability to determine distance, direction, color and understand characters (figures and letters).
- Having problems with making a complete and meaningful sentence during a schmooze.
- Not able to track expense or assign correct value to bill notes. This may result in paying in excess to a seller.
- Frequent misplacement of things.
- A switch of personality. They may become paranoid, sulky or depressed.
- Constant withdrawal from loved activities like games and party.
Since the early signs of Alzheimer’s progress slowly, they may be confused for other medical conditions like drug abuse or brain-fags. In well-nigh cases, they are thought to be signals of old age. This is a contributing factor to why most mortals commence treatment late.
Alzheimer’s effects on hoi polloi differ ― so also is its rate of getting worse. Nonetheless, alzheimer’s disease stages correspond. Some intellects analyze the various levels of Alzheimer’s in 3 junctures: early, middle and late. The discernable symptoms at the early stage are memory backslide; the memory sap gets worse at the ensuing stage, with overall related symptoms are axiomatic at the late stage.
The most elucidating and common touchstones of judging the haywire aside from the three stages system were explicated by Barry Reisberg of New York University. In this system, the processions are dissevered into seven.
- Stage I: There are no noticeable signs of Alzheimer’s at this stage but a neuro scan may unwrap verisimilar jeopardy.
- Stage II: Minor memory declension may be noticed and things haunt misplaced. The disease is still inconspicuous at this stage such that the sufferer could still pass a memory test.
- Stage III: A Picayune memory diminution might be noticed. The patient may not perform well in memory examinations and early Alzheimer’s symptoms would become operational such as difficulty in dealing with home chores and forgetting relatives’ identity.
- Stage IV: The disease is without a doubt noticeable at this stage. Sufferers may not able to calculate their expenses. They may not remember who called their phone a few minutes ago.
- Stage V: Alzheimer’s is becoming severe at this stage. Patients may be unable to drive due to road and direction imbroglio. They might also need support for a normal routine like dressing up and pressing cellphone number as they could go astray from the intended.
- Stage VI: The condition is literally gone worse at this stage. Sufferers may crawfish from social activities and may become paranoid. They need to be placed under special care and requires all-time monitoring.
- Stage VII: The most severe stage of Alzheimer’s is not only accompanied by the most symptoms but also signifies patients’ lives liableness to jeopardy. Patients may lose the ability to communicate, could experience some form of hallucination and will need assistance with all of their daily activities.
What causes Alzheimer’s?
The masterminds behind Alzheimer’s have not been fully unveiled by nature investigators but there have been predictions of some inducers referred to as factors influenced by environmental, lifestyle and genetic impressionability on the nous.
Alzheimer’s triggered by genetic changes is less than one percent of general cases and prominent when sick persons were diagnosed at an early age.
Brain probes disclosed that the malfunction of the cognition-organ is the misfunction of brain proteins. This is conducive to nerve cells damage and necrosis, particularly in the regions strongly linked with the memory like the hippocampus. At the end stage of the ailment, there is evident shrinkage of the brain.
Amyloid and tau are the two proteins suspected to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s. Amyloids are fragments of a larger protein which form plaques around brain cells preventing cell to cell communication. Tau proteins function includes enhancing transport of nutrients in the brain. In instances of Alzheimer’s, their morphology changes and they form tangles which deter transport, hence dangerous to cells.
Alzheimer’s Risk Factors
The following conditions have been discovered to be Alzheimer’s disease causes;
As people get older, so is their likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s. Single reported study showed that every year, there are at least 2 out of 1000 people between 65 and 74-years old contract Alzheimer’s, 11 of 1000 adults between 75 and 84 years old and 37 of 1000 seniors from 85 and above. Invariably, the higher the longevity the proliferation of the sickness among the examined group.
If a nuclear relative such as parent or sibling is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the chances of other members of the nuclear kin to acquire the unwellness is high.
Homo sapiens with ε4 allele of the cholesterol transporter apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) are in peril of the illness. Other Alzheimer’s gene include APP, PSEN1 and PSEN2 ― these last three are results of mutation.
Patients with this mental perturb habitually known as Down’s Syndrome have been espied to prevalently get Alzheimer’s. The symptoms are belikely to manifest the symptoms 10 to 20 years earlier unlike other members of the world population.
Females have been discovered with cases of Alzheimer’s disease than their male counterparts. This might occur from higher longevity than male.
People suffering from cardiovascular disease or prone to developing one due to obesity, high blood pressure, unmanaged diabetes and high cholesterol care inclined to have the malady.
Engagement in activities like smoking and lack of exercises may put someone at the mercy of Alzheimer’s.
There is none inviolable method for Alzheimer’s prevention but by reckoning its risk factors, some assumed preventive actions may be taken.
- Always exercise.
- Eschew smoking.
- Lose weight (if obese).
- Participate in mentally stimulating activities like reading.
- Get engaged in social activities like partying and other flamenco related deeds.
The cure for Alzheimer’s
So far, there is no known therapy for Alzheimer’s making it the only disease among the top ten leading causes of deaths in America which cannot be forestalled.
Alzheimer’s medication is not to be intermingled for Alzheimer’s cure as it could only help manage the condition.
Alzheimer’s in the early to moderate stage can be meliorated using approved Alzheimer’s drugs like donepezil (Aricept) or rivastigmine (Exelon). They are cholinesterase retardants, thus increases the level of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that contributes to memory enhancement.
When Alzheimer’s disease is in moderate to severe stage, the use of donepezil (Aricept) or memantine (Namenda) is advisable. Memantine trammels glutamate secretion and effects on the brain. Alzheimer’s brain has an increased level of glutamate than normal. And this neurotransmitter (glutamate) affects the biology of the brain cells.
Alzheimer’s disease has neither a vouch prevention know-how nor remedy. However, early detection and nimble offset treatment for Alzheimer’s could help manage the condition. Also, Alzheimer’s care i.e. helping victims is also important to help them survive the ordeal of the disease.