Alzheimer is a progressive disorder of the brain that causes the cells in the brain to waste away and eventually die.
It is the most common type of dementia. According to the demented definition, it is the impairment of thinking, communication, and memory. Alzheimer sets in when the brain develops abnormal clumps which are known as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.
Alzheimer has also been linked to complex changes in the brain. One of the changes is reduced loss of connection between the neurons in the brain. Neurons are responsible for transmitting messages between brain organs, from the brain to the muscles, and other organs in the body. During the early stages, the brain damage starts at the hippocampus-an integral organ of the limbic system. The Limbic system is responsible for emotions. Alzheimer then spreads further as more neurons die and at advanced stages, the brain shrinks significantly. This leads to an inability of the individual to even carry out simple tasks.
In this article, we will cover the various ways you can prepare for the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, and how to better understand it.
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?
The most visible signs of alzheimer’s progression is memory loss. Despite being normal to have occasional memory lapses, a person with Alzheimer’s disease has early signs of often forgetting conversations and recent events. This worsens as the disease progresses.
Symptoms associated with memory loss include:
- Forgetting appointments and agreements with no chances of remembering later
- Misplacing objects and storing them in illogical storages.
- Losing track of where the person is even in familiar areas
- Forgetting the right words to call objects and forgetting names of familiar people like family members
Problems with concentration and thinking can also characterize Alzheimer’s disease. This may be worse when multitasking. As the disease advances, the person may fail to distinguish numbers and fail to perform simple math. Decisions and judgment by a person with Alzheimer’s may be awkward. For instance, a person with Alzheimer’s can wear a vest on a snowy morning. The disease also affects the behavior and mood of the individual.
The person may show signs of:
- Social withdrawal
- Inhibition loss
- Delusions, such as believing a theft has taken place while it hasn’t
- Sleeping disorders
- Lack of trust
Eventually, people with Alzheimer’s disease may forget fundamental tasks like bathing, dressing, and eating. At advanced stages, these symptoms are accompanied by vestibulodynia symptoms. Some deaths caused by the Alzheimer disease have been due to the brain failing to note simple emergencies like dehydration.
How Dementia is diagnosed and is dementia a mental illness?
Apart from Alzheimer’s disease, other common types under demented definition include vascular dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Lewy bodies among others. The manifestations definition of these types of dementia is similar. Vascular dementia has been linked to the growth of the vestibular papillae in women. The vestibular papillae lead to a condition known as vestibular papillomatosis in the vulva.
Is dementia a mental illness? There is no one formulated test to check for dementia and can, therefore, be challenging to distinguish. Despite that, it is classified as a mental illness. The first method clinical researchers use for dementia treatment is the elimination method. This helps to check whether the person has an underlying condition that has similar symptoms with dementia. Such conditions may include normal pressure hydrocephalus, an abnormal thyroid function, or a vitamin deficiency.
If there are no underlying conditions, the following steps are used to diagnose dementia:
The clinical researchers will ask whether there are any drugs the person is taking, whether there is a history of dementia treatment in the family, how the symptoms begun among other questions. This helps to determine the disease process of manifestation. People with dementia are invited to clinical trials day. During clinical trials day, doctors can study dementia better.
A sample of body fluids will not only rule out the possibility of another disease but will also check the hormonal balance and chemical balances in the body. If the person passes the lab tests, the doctor can proceed to further dementia tests.
The doctor will check on the memory, problem-solving ability, math skills and any other tests that can determine the mental brain functioning. In this stage, a psychiatrist can be involved.
Brain scans help to identify tumors, strokes, and related problems that can cause dementia. Some of the scans done include; CT scans, MRI scans and PET scans to observe brain activity.
What are the stages of Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease can last for several years. However, during the seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the condition is not noticeable in the first three stages, this is due to the symptoms of the stages being just normal.
1. No Impairment Stage
At this stage, the disease is not detectable; it also has no signs of cognitive decline and no impairment of thinking.
2. Very Mild Cognitive Decline
At this stage, the person starts forgetting simple things. For instance, forgetting car keys or wallet. At this stage, close members and physicians may not be able to detect the disease.
3. Mild Cognitive Decline
Increased forgetfulness and mild lack of concentration are experienced at this stage. At the workplace, a lack of focus can be noticed and a decline in concentration on household duties like paying bills. The stage can be noticed by family members and can last for approximately seven years.
4. Moderate Cognitive Decline
This is the first stage of early-stage dementia. There is increased forgetfulness, more difficulty in concentration, difficulties in solving small problems and inability to track movement in unfamiliar places. Many people in this stage are often in denial of their forgetfulness. A doctor can diagnose this stage and the disease process can easily be identified.
5. Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
At this stage, major memory deficiencies are noticeable. People at this stage will require help in bathing, dressing, cooking and other day-to-day chores. A person can start forgetting extremely common things like a phone number and the car they drive. This shows signs of senile dementia. The stage lasts for approximately two years.
6. Severe Cognitive Decline
At this stage, the person cannot give a coherent speech. There is also increased incontinence of the bowel and the bladder along with vestibulodynia symptoms like soreness and itching. The person also starts experiencing delusion, anxiety, and anger while at the same time losing any memory of the past. Simple cognitive tasks like counting from 10 backward are impaired. The stage lasts three years
7. Last Stage Dementia
At this stage, the person cannot communicate and is now senile. All the manifestations definition of Alzheimer’s disease are seen at this stage. The brain can also not control movement, and the person cannot move. In most cases, death is swift at this stage since the brain cannot process simple needs like hunger and thirst. Care is needed on a full-time basis. At such an advanced point, Alzheimer’s disease leads to death.
How is Alzheimer’s Disease prevented or treated?
The exact cause of the disease is not known, and as a result, there is no prevention known. However, smoking, obesity, diabetes type 2 and lack of being mentally active has been linked to the disease. For further prevention, ensure that sugar levels are checked using a diabetes biomarker. A diabetes biomarker helps to screen sugar levels in the blood. Exercise and cognitive function also keep the brain mentally active. Some of the exercise and cognitive function activities include playing mind games and being physically fit. Research is still going on, but at the moment, there is no treatment to stop or slow down signs of alzheimer’s progression.