Know about Alzheimer's Symptoms & Treatment at Medicover

Alzheimer's disease (AD), a slowly advancing brain condition, results in memory loss. Its traits include disruptions in thinking, language, perception, and remembering, and eventually, it undermines a person's capacity to perform regular daily tasks. Alzheimer's disease does not usually manifest in old age and is not a normal consequence of aging. However, as people age, there is a significant rise in the chance of Alzheimer's disease.

Keeping an extensive social network and regularly participating in social, physical, and intellectually stimulating activities like reading, playing games, taking senior education programs, and other pastimes might help prevent AD, even if it cannot be stopped. Current Alzheimer's therapies may momentarily improve memory problems and other cognitive impairments.


Symptoms

The signs of Alzheimer's disease worsen with time since it is a progressive disorder. One of the main characteristics is memory loss, which often manifests as one of the early symptoms. Alzheimer's disease signs and symptoms include

Memory loss

A person may have trouble recalling things and absorbing new knowledge. This can result in inquiries or discussions being repeated.

  • Losing objects
  • Repeating questions or conversations
  • Wandering or getting lost
  • Forgetting about events or appointments

Cognitive deficits

A person may struggle to think, complete complicated activities, or make decisions. This may result in

  • Difficulty with money or paying bills
  • A reduced understanding of safety and risks
  • Problem completing tasks that have several stages, such as getting dressed
  • Difficulty making decisions

Problems with recognition

A person may lose the ability to use simple tools or identify people or things. These difficulties are not the result of vision impairments.

Problems with spatial awareness

Spatial awareness issues might cause a person to lose their balance, trip over things more frequently, drop items or have trouble clothing by aligning garments to their body.

Problems with speaking, reading, or writing

A person may experience trouble remembering familiar terms, or they may commit more mistakes in their speech, spelling, or writing.

Personality or behavior changes

A person may go through the following changes in personality or behavior:

  • A loss of empathy
  • Getting upset, angry, or worried more often than before
  • Compulsive, obsessive, or socially inappropriate behavior
  • losing interest in or motivation for activities they usually enjoy


When To See A Doctor?

Memory loss or other dementia symptoms can be caused by various illnesses, some of which are curable. Talk to your doctor for a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis if you are worried about your memory or other cognitive abilities.

Seek the advice of a relative or close friend about your worries and suggest coming to a doctor's visit together if you are worried about the cognitive abilities you have noticed in them.


Causes

The precise cause of Alzheimer's disease is unknown. However, at a basic level, brain proteins go wrong, interfering with the activity of brain cells (neurons) and starting a series of adverse reactions. Neurons that have been harmed stop communicating with one another and finally perish. Scientists believe that a combination of inherited, nutritional, and environmental factors that have a persistently detrimental effect on the brain most frequently causes Alzheimer's disease.

Less than 1% of the time, Alzheimer's is triggered by specific genetic abnormalities that almost always result in a person getting the condition. The condition usually starts at a later age due to these uncommon events. The memory-controlling part of the brain is where the damage most frequently occurs, even though damage occurs long before any symptoms do. Other features of the brain experience a relatively predictable pattern of neuron loss. The brain has significantly shrunk in size by the disease's latter stages.


Risk Factors

The assumed cause of Alzheimer's disease is a combination of hereditary, environmental, and lifestyle factors and age-related brain changes. Following is a discussion of these factors:

Age

Patients over 65 are more likely to develop Alzheimer's than those under that. Although older age is the most recognized risk factor for Alzheimer's, it does not cause the illness.

Family history

A patient's risk of having Alzheimer's disease is up to seven times higher if there is a history of the disease in their family.

Gender

Women are more likely to get this condition, accounting for almost two-thirds of all Alzheimer's patients.

Overweight and obesity

Overweight and obesity After 25, those with higher BMIs or obesity (particularly abdominal obesity) have a greater chance of developing dementia.

Hypertension

Hypertension: Elevated blood pressure in middle age, particularly if uncontrolled, is linked to a greater chance of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases

Strokes, clinically silent cerebral infarctions, and cardiovascular conditions, including peripheral artery disease, significantly raise the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Hypercholesterolemia

Hypercholesterolemia: In the middle ages, it was discovered that people with high total serum cholesterol levels were at risk of subsequently acquiring AD and other dementias.

Head injury

Head injury: In most cases, sustaining a head injury increases one's risk of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Chronic stress

Both depression and chronic stress cause amyloid-beta proteins to accumulate in the brain, which may impact the etiology of Alzheimer's disease.

Sleep difficulties

Sleep difficulties: Sleep problems and irregular sleep patterns can cause moderate cognitive impairment and the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Sedentary behavior

This disease is more likely to develop in those who lead sedentary lives without engaging their minds and bodies.

Complications

The following are some of the complications and problems related to Alzheimer's disease:

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI)

In its early stages, MCI may be diagnosed in someone who often loses items, forgets appointments, or has trouble remembering terms. It could be a symptom of Alzheimer's. Most individuals with MCI can take care of themselves and have independent lives; thus, not everyone with MCI goes on to acquire Alzheimer's disease.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia: People with Alzheimer's may get aspiration pneumonia if they have trouble swallowing and food or liquids go into their lungs. A common cause of mortality for those with Alzheimer's is pneumonia.

Other issues

Stroke, infections, delirium, and certain drugs might exacerbate Alzheimer's symptoms.

Prevention

There is no recognized treatment for Alzheimer's, just as there is no proven way to avoid it. The best defense against cognition we currently have is a healthy lifestyle, and these actions might be helpful:

  • If you smoke, stopping is good for your health both now and in the future.
  • Many conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, can be prevented by regular exercise.
  • Try out these cognitive training activities to keep your mind sharp.
  • Consume a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Continually engage in social activities since they will likely improve your general health.

Diagnosis and Treatment

These tests are used to determine if a patient has Alzheimer's disease or other medical ailments that exhibit symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer's disease:

Medical history

The doctor will inquire about the patient's current and previous illnesses, their medications, and any history of Alzheimer's disease or other memory impairments in the patient's family.

Blood and urine tests

Blood and urine tests: Routine laboratory tests such as blood counts, vitamin levels, liver and kidney function, mineral balance, and thyroid gland function rule out other potential causes of symptoms.

Mental status testing

These tests include speech, problem-solving, concentration, memory, and focus. Screening of this kind can help track the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Spinal tap

This procedure, also known as a lumbar puncture, looks for the tau and amyloid proteins that build the plaques and tangles characteristic of Alzheimer's disease in the brains of patients.

Computed tomography (CT)

A decrease in brain tissues (brain atrophy), a widening of the indentations of the brain tissues, and an expansion of the fluid-filled chambers of the brain are all physical changes in the structure of the brain tissue found in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease that is shown by this scan.

Magnetic resonance imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging: Brain atrophy may also be visible on this scan. It can also detect other structural abnormalities, including strokes, tumors, fluid buildup on the brain, and other conditions that might manifest symptoms resembling Alzheimer's disease.

Positron emission tomography

This scan shows abnormal brain activity in an Alzheimer's patient. In contrast to other types of dementia, it can also aid in diagnosing Alzheimer's disease.


Treatment

Even though there is no cure, specific treatments might help lower symptoms. Many Alzheimer's patients also pick up coping mechanisms that enhance their quality of life and help them better manage their symptoms.

Medications

The cognitive symptoms of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease may momentarily be improved by a class of treatments known as cholinergic agents. These function by raising acetylcholine levels in the brain, which assist in re-establishing communication between brain cells. Sleeplessness, restlessness, anxiety, and depression are behavioral symptoms that can be treated with other medications. Although these therapies don't directly address Alzheimer's, they can improve quality of life.

Lifestyle changes

A person with Alzheimer's disease should, whenever possible, try to maintain regular social contact with friends and family, exercise regularly, and participate in activities that stimulate the brain. Talk to your doctor for advice if you are experiencing any concerns about safety (such as your driving abilities).

Other interventions

When taking care of an individual with Alzheimer's disease, changing their living environment may be beneficial in decreasing their feeling of confusion. For example, if the individual is likely to get lost, one may put alarm devices or include explicit instructions on access doors.


Dos and Don’ts

Learning that a loved one has Alzheimer's may be stressful and unsettling. Every caregiver should be aware of these Alzheimer's dos and don'ts and get the skills necessary to handle even the most challenging circumstances. The condition causes a steady decline in memory and cognitive functioning, making it difficult for a person to converse and do everyday chores. A person with Alzheimer's will need more care and support with daily duties as the condition worsens. It's crucial to comprehend the dos and don'ts of caring for someone with sickness while assuming the function of a carer. Here are a few easy suggestions to help people prepare for potential changes.

Do’s Don’ts
Keep your tone and body language friendly and positive. Speak with the patients loudly
Repeat instructions or sentences exactly the same way. Ignore the patients with Alzheimer's
Be kind and polite to the person Disagree, argue, or correct the patient
Use distraction as a tool Engage in arguments
Talk in short, simple sentences of seven words or less. Remind them they forget


Care at Medicover Hospitals

At Medicover hospitals, we have the best team of neurologists and medical professionals that treat Alzheimer's Disease with the highest accuracy. Our qualified physicians are equipped with excellent diagnostic instruments and methodologies for screening and treating Alzheimer's Disease and related problems in adults. For a quicker and more lasting recovery from Alzheimer's Disease, our experts closely collaborate with the patients to monitor their condition and the effectiveness of the therapy.

Citations

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-alzheimers-disease
https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alzheimers-disease/
https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/
https://journals.sagepub.com/home/aja
https://alzheimer.ca/en/about-dementia/what-alzheimers-disease

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Frequently Asked Questions

1.What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's is a progressive neurological disorder primarily affecting memory, thinking, and behaviour. It is the most common cause of dementia.

2.Who is at risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease?

While age is the most significant risk factor, anyone can develop Alzheimer's Disease. Family history, genetics, lifestyle factors, and certain health conditions may also contribute.

3.What are the early signs of Alzheimer's Disease?

Early symptoms include:

  • Forgetfulness.
  • Difficulty with familiar tasks.
  • Confusion about time or place.
  • Challenges in problem-solving.
  • Changes in mood or personality.

4.Is Alzheimer's Disease the same as dementia?

No, dementia is a broader term that encompasses various cognitive impairments. Alzheimer's Disease is one specific type of dementia.

5.Can Alzheimer's Disease be prevented?

While there is no surefire prevention, adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, mental stimulation, and social engagement, may help reduce the risk.

6.How is Alzheimer's Disease diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves a comprehensive assessment of medical history, cognitive tests, neurological evaluations, and sometimes brain imaging to rule out other possible causes.

7.Is there a cure for Alzheimer's Disease?

There is no cure for Alzheimer's, but treatments and interventions can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

8.What treatments are available for Alzheimer's Disease?

Treatment includes medications that may temporarily alleviate cognitive and behavioural symptoms. Non-pharmacological approaches such as cognitive therapy and lifestyle interventions can also be beneficial.

9.How does Alzheimer's Disease progress?

Alzheimer's Disease progresses in stages, from mild cognitive impairment to severe mental and functional decline. It gradually affects the ability to perform daily activities independently.

10.How can caregivers support individuals with Alzheimer's Disease?

Caregivers can provide emotional support, create a safe environment, encourage a routine, manage medications, and engage in activities that stimulate memory and cognition.

11.Are there any ongoing research efforts for Alzheimer's Disease?

Yes, there is ongoing research better to understand the underlying causes of Alzheimer's Disease and to develop potential treatments or interventions to slow its progression.

12.What impact does Alzheimer's Disease have on families and caregivers?

Alzheimer's Disease can be emotionally and physically challenging for families and caregivers. It requires adjustments to daily routines and often necessitates long-term care planning.

13.Can Alzheimer's Disease affect younger individuals?

While rare, there is a condition called early-onset Alzheimer's Disease that can affect individuals in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.

14.What resources are available for individuals and families dealing with Alzheimer's Disease?

Numerous support groups, educational resources, and organizations are dedicated to Alzheimer's Disease care and research, offering valuable information and assistance.

15.Where can I find more information about Alzheimer's Disease?

Reliable sources such as medical centres, Alzheimer's associations, and government health agencies offer accurate information about Alzheimer's Disease and related topics.