Identify Alzheimer's Symptoms Early to Preserve Quality of Life and Additional Alzheimer's Information
Symptoms > Identify Alzheimer’s Symptoms Early to Preserve Quality of Life
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a slow process of degeneration of the brain cells, which disallows the normal functioning of the brain cells. To date there in no exact cause of the disease and resultantly, there is no perfect cure or remedy for Alzheimer’s disease. It is common amongst elderly people, say over sixty to sixty-five years of age. There are also very rare cases of the same among the middle-aged.
To be very precise, Alzheimer’s disease was not easily recognizable as the symptoms went hand in glove with the old age problems. General symptoms include slow but steady loss of memory, getting confused with basic daily functions, or changes in the behavioral patterns and at times also becoming violent, etc. Only quite recently, discoveries have thrown light on the fact that these are due to the existence of this disease.
Science points to the formation and accumulation of a foreign type of protein within the nerve cells, which refuses to mingle with the normal proteins of the body. Such deposits, over the years, lead to the death of the nerve cells and specifically, the all important brain cells and then the brain itself. Unfortunately, we get to know in detail only through an autopsy of the brain of the person affected with Alzheimer’s disease, when it is too late to do anything.
Alzheimer’s disease has no written cure, although some drugs can reduce the intensity to some extent. Some stress on the intake of foods high in Vitamin B.
Of course, you would like to provide the best care and affection to your loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s disease. You can hire additional help at home to look after them or alternatively, take the help of Adult day care centers. You can take help of Assisted Living housing systems, where the trained staff will take care of your loved one in the best possible way while you are busy at work.
Identify Alzheimer’s Symptoms Early
Alzheimer’s disease is believed to affect nearly 4 million Americans. Scientists and researchers believe that in the next couple of decades, as the U.S. population ages, Alzheimer’s may potentially affect tens of millions more. The large number of “baby boomers” who are approaching age 60, the earliest that the disease usually begins its onset, is the reason for this hypothesis. Although researchers are uncovering more each day about this devastating illness, relatively little is known about its causes and how to treat it. However, research indicates that early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can lead to a better prognosis and delay some of the symptoms that rob its victims most of the quality of
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But medications are available that, while they can’t reverse the disease or eliminate symptoms, can help to alleviate the symptoms. The earlier that medications are administered, the more successful they will be at alleviating symptoms such as memory loss and anxiety. Early diagnosis, as disturbing as it may be to face, can also help the individual be able to make care management decisions, develop advance directives for end-of-life care wishes, and secure assistance from a trusted friend or loved one in managing financial, insurance, and legal matters.
Preparing for Future Needs
Early diagnosis can also help the individual prepare their family and their home environment for what is to come. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it eventually destroys a person’s ability to remember how to complete everyday tasks such as cooking a meal or brushing their teeth. Therefore, having a microwave for easy cooking is one step to take; pre-programming phone numbers into a telephone or cell phone will eliminate the need to remember them. Get into routines that allow less dependence on memory: adopt the habit of storing your purse, keys, and wallet in the same place; keep your medications in a labeled pillbox partitioned off for days of the week. Other preparations include finding support groups in your community and educating yourself on the
Recognize Symptoms, Take Action
Therefore, it is important for people in their early sixties and older to be aware of signs and symptoms that may point to Alzheimer’s. The beginning stages are characterized by mild forgetfulness that is more a nuisance than troublesome – being unable to recall the names of acquaintances, recent events, or how to do a math problem, for example. Feeling anxious or becoming easily frustrated at slight disturbances (e.g., schedule changes, interruptions in daily routine) is another common
In later stages of Alzheimer’s, these behaviors become more prominent. What was once slight irritation can become a noticeable personality change; anxiety turns into frequent agitation and acting out, and the ability to think rationally dissipates. Of course, later stages are also characterized by greater memory loss and depleted ability to remember recent events. Eventually, an Alzheimer’s sufferer needs total care, forgetting how to read and write, engaging in wandering away from home or aggressive behavior.
If you are age 60 or older and are experiencing noticeable memory problems or uncharacteristic mood swings, the best course of action is to contact your healthcare provider. Your healthcare professional will take your family medical history, assess your mental and physical status, and conduct any laboratory testing that he or she deems necessary. Physicians are able to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease about 90 percent of the time, experts say; a brain autopsy is necessary for a 100 percent
Keep in mind that although Alzheimer’s is a difficult reality to face, early diagnosis will prolong your quality of life. Also, researchers say that 5 to 10 percent of individuals complaining of memory loss have a treatable disorder, such is metabolic problems, vitamin deficiencies, or depression that is responsible for causing the problem. The earlier Alzheimer’s disease is identified, the better your symptoms will respond to treatment interventions.
Learning to spot and help prevent Alzheimer’s
One of the most devastating conditions facing today’s seniors is Alzheimer’s disease. Different from dementia or senility, Alzheimer’s is a condition that changes a person’s personality as well as ravaging his or her mind and destroying memories. The disease can be devastating to family members or other caregivers as well because they see the harmful effects on their loved ones. Estimates put the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s around four million. Luckily for sufferers, though, education and prevention can help postpone, or possibly even eliminate, the disease.
Forgetfulness is associated with aging and Alzheimer’s, but in the disease, the patient may begin to have trouble making associations, such as that the patient’s daughter’s daughter is the patient’s granddaughter. In other instances, the sufferer has trouble with language and finds him or herself unable to find the words to express emotions or desires. A decrease in judgment abilities, such as not walking in front of a car, and abstract thinking, as well as personality changes, are keys an elderly person may have Alzheimer’s, instead of normal aging.
To help slow the disease, which affects primarily people 65 years old and older, a person should work to keep his or her mind stimulated by taking classes, doing crossword puzzles, and performing other tasks that require a tax on one’s mental capacity. These tasks can help the brain continue to function as it did before retirement.
Another important factor in slowing the progressive of Alzheimer’s disease is to make sure one eats properly. Reducing fat intake may decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s. Fruits and vegetable, as well as refined carbohydrates, can help nourish the brain. Because Alzheimer’s affects the brains of its victims, good nutrition is vital to keeping healthy. Some doctors, however, suggest that people are at risk for developing Alzheimer’s may want to take a multi-vitamin supplement to ensure they receive proper nutrients.
Another possible prevention method is taking medication early. Some patients want to wait to take medicine because they do not have a full-blown case of the disease, but Alzheimer’s medications can slow the disease’s progress. While it is impossible to predict who will get Alzheimer’s disease and researchers are unsure exactly what causes it, follow these simple guidelines can lead to a healthier overall lifestyle and may prevent a debilitating disease in the process.
Living With Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a medical condition that is considered degenerative and progressive. Caring for and living with someone who has Alzheimer's disease can be a trying, difficult, and often heart breaking experience. People who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease will have different and varying degrees of symptoms. These different symptoms can include different levels of forgetfulness that increase over time, confusion, the inability to follow instructions, hallucinations, problems remembering words and sentences, and different levels of paranoia. If you are living with someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease you will most likely already have been pointed in the right direction for help and emotional support.
Alzheimer's disease is a disease that is not reversible. It is very important that an early diagnosis is made of Alzheimer's disease so that steps can be taken to slow the progression of the disease. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease can be managed in varying degrees depending on how far the disease has progressed. If Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed early family and friends of the patient can make preparations for the patient to ease some of the stress of the coming months and years, and the patient can make preparations for what lies ahead.
There are many things that you will need to plan for when you are living with someone who has Alzheimer's disease. One of the most important things that you have to prepare for is the security of the patient. A person with Alzheimer's disease will often feel disoriented and paranoid, making every attempt to leave the home. You will want to secure the home of the Alzheimer's disease to make sure that they are kept safe and out of harm’s way. Another thing that you will have to consider is making sure that the inside condition of the home is secure as well so that the person with Alzheimer's disease can’t harm themselves. You can find more support and advice for living with someone with Alzheimer's disease by joining a support group and participating regularly.
Additional Information on Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s Disease is a brain disorder that affects parts of the brain that control memories, thoughts and language. It is the most common form of dementia in aging populations. The disease typically begins after age 60, and almost half of people over the age of 85 have this disorder.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease begin with forgetfulness and can sometimes be overlooked as regular symptoms of aging. People with early stages of the disease may forget names of familiar people and things, as well as recent events. As the disease progresses, those suffering from the disease may begin to forget how to do simple everyday tasks like dressing themselves or taking showers. They have trouble thinking clearly and sometimes lose abilities to speak, read or write. Eventually, Alzheimer’s victims deteriorate to the point where they require constant care.
The causes of Alzheimer’s Disease are still not known, but physical manifestations in the brain include the formation of abnormal clumps called amyloid plaques, and tangled groups of fibers called neurofibrillary tangles. In the search for causes, researchers are studying genetics factors as well as education, diet and environmental factors. Some have found that risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and high cholesterol may lead to development of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease can only be definitely diagnosed when plagues and tangles are found in the brains of patients. However, these can only be seen during postmortem autopsies, and thus, diagnosis of the disease in the living is actually only probable diagnosis. Doctors make probable diagnoses based on brain scans, memory tests and various medical tests, along with questions regarding daily functioning. Sometimes it is found that other problems, like depression, brain tumors or blood vessel diseases are actually causing Alzheimer’s Disease-type symptoms instead of the brain disorder itself.
There is no treatment that can stop the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, but ongoing research in aging populations is opening a lot of doors to possible ways of prevention and treatment. There are currently several drugs that can help prevent or slow a worsening of symptoms if administered during early stages of the disease. Some of these include donepezil, galantamine and tacrine. Researches are also investigating effects of Vitamin E and ginkgo biloba on slowing or preventing onset of dementia.
The average Alzheimer’s patient lives eight to ten years after initial diagnosis of the disorder. It is typically the family members who care for Alzheimer’s sufferers once the disease progresses beyond the stage where the patient can care for him or herself. There are many support groups that offer financial and emotional support for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. Among these include the Alzheimer’s Association, based in Chicago, Illinois. As advances in medical care continue and the growing number of elderly people in the world continues to rise, research in Alzheimer’s Disease prevention and treatment continues to be an ever-growing and well-financed field of study.
For more information about Alzheimers, What is Alzheimers and Current Treatments, click here.