Alzheimer’s Disease- Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. This disorder causes brain cells to degenerate and die.
According to Statista: The most recognized and common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for over half of all cases.
Alzheimer’s disease is a decline in the ability to think and understand. Symptoms begin to grow severe enough that they start interfering with daily tasks of the sufferer. The disease can occur in people in their 30s and 40s and is also more commonly seen among older individuals. But it cannot be considered as a part of normal aging.
Types of Alzheimer’s disease
Nearly everyone who struggles with Alzheimer’s disease will eventually face similar symptoms- memory loss, confusion, a problem with decision making and doing daily tasks.
As per the reports, In India, more than 4 million people are estimated to be suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, giving the country the third largest caseload in the world, after China and the US. India’s dementia and Alzheimer’s burden is forecast to reach almost 7.5 million by the end of 2030.
There are two main types of the disease:
- Early-onset Alzheimer’s
This type occurs to people who are below the age of 65. Generally, they are in their 40s or 50s when they get diagnosed with this type. The early-onset form is also linked with a defect in chromosome 14, a specific part of the person’s DNA.
- Late-onset Alzheimer’s
This type is the most common and occurs to people who are 65 years of age or above. The exact cause is not yet identified, but the scientists are working on it.
Another subcategory of the condition is Familial Alzheimer’s disease and is very rare. It is linked to genes and members of at least two generations get affected in such families. This form accounts for only 1% of the total cases of the disease.
Causes of Alzheimer’s disease:
The most dominating cause of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is age, but the diseases are not a normal part of aging. People who are 65 years of age or above are at higher risk and this risk doubles every five years.
According to the India Ageing Report 2017, the elderly population, which is growing at a faster rate of three percent, May up the burden of Alzheimer’s in India, as the disease primarily occurs in patients over the age of 60.
There are various researches that are working towards learning how age-related changes affect neurons and other brain cells.
- Family history
Family history is another strong cause of the disease. A person who has a parent, brother or sister with this disease are more likely to suffer from the disease. People’s genes that they inherit from their biological parents influences the chances of them developing this disease.
- Health and lifestyle factors
Research advocates that there are many other factors that can cause this disease. Such factors can be prevented from influencing the chances of occurrence.
- Head injury
Head injury increases the risk of dementia in future. You can always protect yourself from head injuries by ensuring safety while driving or making floors of your home fall-proof.
- Heart disease
There is a strong link between heart health and brain health. The heart pumps blood through the blood vessels that carry blood to the brain. When the person suffers from any heart diseases, then it is likely to cause this disease.
- Lifestyle factor
A sedentary lifestyle increases the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. An expert neurosurgeon will advocate adapting to a healthier lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:
There is a particular set of symptoms of this disease that the patient experiences. Here is a list of symptoms for you of the three different stages of Alzheimer’s- mild, moderate and severe. You shouldn’t ignore these signs and consult the brain specialist at the earliest. Have a look at the list here.
Mild Alzheimer’s disease
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment
- Loss of sense of initiative
- Repeating questions
- Taking longer than usual to complete a task
- Losing or misplacing things
- Mood swings and personality changes
- Increased anxiety
Moderate Alzheimer’s disease
- Increased memory loss and confusion
- Difficulty in learning new things
- Language problems in addition to issues with reading, writing and working with numbers
- Decreasing concentration levels
- Inability to think logically
- Difficulty in adapting to new situations
- A problem in recognizing family and friends
- Impulsive behavior
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Restlessness and anxiety
- Lack of anger management
- Repetitive statements or actions
Severe Alzheimer’s disease
- Inability to communicate
- Weight loss
- Skin infections
- Difficulty in swallowing food
- Groaning and grunting
- Increased sleeping
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease
There is no cure for this disease, but there are a few things that can be done to maintain a balance and prevent things from getting complicated. A brain specialist can help you in making a proper plan to maintain a healthy living.
Medicines slow down the symptoms and make it easy for the patient to cope up with the disease. This may not bring great results for each patient, but an expert brain specialist will always give it a try to keep the condition in control.
- Treatment of other health conditions
Treating other health conditions like depression, diabetes or hearing & vision loss can help to a great extent in controlling the symptoms and putting the patient at ease.
- Regular health checkups
Regularity in visiting the doctor for health checkups allows your doctor to keep a close check on your condition. Accordingly, necessary steps can be taken to improve the level of treatment.
- Creating a safe environment
Maintaining a balance between the living situation and needs of the patient is an important aspect. Family and friends can establish routine habits of the patient by taking guidance from a brain specialist. You can take the following steps to make things easy:
- Keep the patient’s belongings at the same place so that he/she doesn’t feel lost.
- Keep track of the medicines.
- De-clutter the place where the patient spends most of the time. Reduce the number of mirrors as they may frighten the patient.
- Give them comfortable shoes and slippers to wear.
- Alternative medicine
Various vitamins and other supplements support cognitive health. Alternative medicines that can help the patient are Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and others. These medications can be prescribed by the doctor as per the health condition.
Alzheimer’s disease can’t be overlooked and the patient needs the right care from family & friends and appropriate treatment from a brain specialist. A delay in consulting the doctor can worsen the condition. Nothing is dearer than your health or that of your loved ones and even mild symptoms deserve to be treated.
Get in touch with the most experienced doctors at Ojas Hospital and discuss the troubles related to this disease that are facing you or your loved ones. Don’t let the symptoms overpower your health by not seeking the right treatment. Our team is always there to assist you.