What is Alzheimer’s Disease? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Types, Stages, LifeExpectancy, Complications & Treatment

What is Alzheimer's Disease? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Types, Stages, LifeExpectancy, Complications & Treatment
What is Alzheimer’s Disease? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Types, Stages, LifeExpectancy, Complications & Treatment

Alzheimer’s disease is basically a brain disorder which gradually impairs and destroys the ability of thinking, remembering, and reasoning. Alzheimer’s is an irreparable and progressive brain disease which gradually affects thinking skills and memory.  It has also a potential effect on the person’s ability to perform daily routine tasks. The symptoms mostly occur in the mid-60s. Almost 60-80% dementia cases are reported and the cause is Alzheimer’s disease. The irreversible process of brain damage due to Alzheimer’s mostly affects older adults aging 65 years or older than that. According to the reports, the percentage might vary but most of the Alzheimer’s patients suffer from dementia first, which is actually causing due to Alzheimer’s. [1]

Alzheimer’s disease is presently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in America, but the recent reports hint that the disorder might be ranked third as a cause of death just behind cancer and heart disease particularly in older people. The most common cause of dementia in older people is Alzheimer’s, which gradually turns into a life disabling disorder. Dementia is basically the dropping of cognitive functioning, including the ability to reason, remember, and think and even the behavioral abilities. The underlying cause of dementia might vary among each patient depending on the kinds of brain changes that are taking place. The loss of ability to behave properly might reach to an extent that starts interfering with your daily life activities.

Alzheimer’s disease gets its name from Dr, Alois Alzheimer who was noticing alterations in a woman’s brain tissue due to an unknown mental disorder in the year 1906. After the death of that woman, Dr. Alzheimer started examining her brain and there were abnormal tangled bundles and clusters currently known as neurofibrillary tangles and amyloids plaques respectively. Her symptoms comprise language issues, unpredictable behavior, and memory loss. The tangles and plaques in the brain tissues are still one of the main characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. Another characteristic of Alzheimer’s including the loss of link among neuron in the brain. The neurons or nerve cells transmit information between several parts of the brain and also from the brain to body organs and muscles.

The researchers are unraveling the complex brain alterations involving in the initiation and advancements of Alzheimer’s disease. It is a possibility that the alterations in the brain tissues might initiate a decade or more before the appearance of cognitive and memory problems. Also, the preclinical stages in Alzheimer’s patients indicate a symptom-free disorder but destructive changes are already happening in the brain. Due to the abnormal deposition of proteins, nerve fibers start tangling and forming amyloid plaque which stops the healthy neurons to work optimally. The neurons start to lose function and connections with neighboring neurons and eventually die. The destruction initially occurs in the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus, the parts of brain important for memory forming. Consequently, more neurons begin to die and extra parts of the brain begin to shrink. Therefore, at the final stage of Alzheimer’s the brain tissues stop functioning because there is widespread damage and shrinking all over the brain.

1Alzheimer’s Early Signs and Common symptoms

Memory loss
Memory loss

The early symptoms of Alzheimer’s might differentiate from person to person, but for the majority of people, there is a gradual decline in memory. In addition to the memory loss there is also a decline in other cognitive functions too like finding words, impaired judgment, troubled decision making, vision issues, all of which are some early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. According to the researchers, the reports of biomarkers for Alzheimer’s patients indicate initiate changes in the brain tissues while the patients are cognitively doing fine.  Early diagnosis of the disease is possible for the patients with a normal cognitive function because they are at higher risk of developing a severe form of Alzheimer’s. [2]

Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder which means that the symptoms of it get worse with time. Loss of memory is one of the most commonly occurring symptoms that tend to develop as the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The symptoms emerge gradually, over the periods of years or months. However, if the symptoms start developing in days or hours, then the person might require immediate medical assistance as it might lead to a stroke. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s also depend on the stage, type, and severity of the disorder in each individual. Following are the 15 signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

Memory loss

Memory loss is one of the most commonly occurring symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in the early stage of the disorder. The patient suffering from Alzheimer’s starts forgetting information which he learns in the most recent time. The patients start relying on other people like family members or friends and might use memory aids like electronic devices or reminder notes for even doing the things they were handling on their own. Memory loss in the case of Alzheimer’s includes forgetting important events or dates, not remembering people’s faces, and asking the same things over and over again. Memory loss disrupts the daily life of an Alzheimer’s patient and there is a gradual decline in memory and other cognitive abilities.

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