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Alzheimer’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Many More

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
April 21st, 2022
11 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Confusion and memory loss are common Alzheimer’s disease symptoms
  • There are no fixed medications you can take for Alzheimer’s cure
  • You can manage Alzheimer’s disease with constant care and support

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness that involves a deterioration of memory and other important mental functions [1]. It is a common form of dementia where a person’s understanding and judgment decline. An estimated 5.3 million people above the age of 60 have dementia in India as per a 2020 report and this number is projected to exceed 14 million by the year 2050 [2]. This equals to about 1 in every 27 people.

There are various disease types of dementia out of which Alzheimer’s is most common. There is no cure for this disease, nor are there any proven ways for its prevention. Alzheimer’s disease treatment focuses on managing and supporting the symptoms to maximize your ability to carry out daily tasks so that you can remain independent for as long as possible. This disease can ultimately prove to be fatal. Read on to understand the important factors related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Additional Read: Dementia: Types, Symptoms and Risk Factors

What are the causes of Alzheimer’s disease? 

In this disease, brain cells start to lose connection with each other, deteriorate and eventually die. Such changes are associated with the build-up of abnormal proteins that form tangles and plaques around the brain cells. A combination of genetic risk, lifestyle, and environmental factors triggers the abnormal biological process in the brain, which over decades results in the dementia type known as Alzheimer’s.

Identified risk factors that cause dementia include: 

  • Family history 
  • Old age 
  • Prior injuries in the head 
  • Down syndrome 
  • Obesity
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Smoking
  • Poor sleeping habits
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure  
  • Type 2 Diabetes  
  • Stroke 
  • Long term exposure to solvents like paints and glues

Alzheimer's Disease

What are the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease? 

There are a lot of changes that occur with this disease that affect the areas of your brain that control language, memory and thought process. This results in a gradual onset of symptoms and signs related to your mental function and behavior. Physical functions like bladder and bowel control are also affected.

These symptoms develop gradually and the time between onset of the disease and death can range from five to twenty years. The types of behavioral changes that take place vary from individual to individual. Symptoms commonly experienced during the early stages of this disease are 

  • Mood changes – anxiety and irritability 
  • Loss of initiative or spontaneity
  • Forgetfulness, usually short-term memory loss
  • Confusion, especially regarding place and time
  • Difficulty in learning new things or processing new information 
  • Decline in the ability to perform routine tasks 
  • Difficulty in communicating

As the disease progresses the following symptoms may develop 

  • Difficulty in recognizing faces 
  • Increasing confusion and short-term memory loss 
  • Increased feelings of restlessness
  • Shorter span of attention
  • Difficulty in writing, reading and identifying numbers
  • Loss of appetite
  • Neglect in hygiene
  • Need of extra assistance in daily tasks 
  • Changes in personality like mood swings and significant aggression 

Food to fight Alzheimer’s Disease

food to fight Alzheimer's Disease

As the disease reaches the later stages the symptoms experienced may be 

  • Inability to use speech or understand what someone is saying 
  • Inability to recognize oneself, family or friends 
  • Increase in immobility and sleeping time
  • Severe disorientation 
  • Constant state of confusion 

The changes brought about by this disease can be challenging for friends and family members to deal with as the condition makes their loved ones unstable and lose their independence. Although your loved ones may lose many abilities as the disease progresses, help them to focus on the abilities that they don’t lose like hearing, sense of touch, and being able to respond to emotions. These abilities can help them through the process. 

What are the diagnostic measures of Alzheimer’s disease? 

Steps involved in reaching the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s are 

  • Neurological and physical examination 
  • Brain scans 
  • Urine and blood tests 
  • Assessment of psychiatric and medical history  
  • Assessment of mental status to determine mental deterioration
  • Scans to check brain functions like MRI, CT and PET

diagnostic measures of Alzheimer's disease

What is the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease? 

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease; symptoms can be managed by way of treatment. This includes 

  • Providing memory aid and triggers such as written reminders  
  • Treating the medical conditions that may cause confusion or further physical decline  
  • Participating in activities that act as stimulants 
  • Encouraging social interaction to avoid feeling of depression and loneliness 
  • Using support groups for extra aid 
  • Quitting smoking 
  • Encouraging creating a routine to reduce confusion

There are medications available to help control the Alzheimer’s disease signs and symptoms, but they should be taken under guidance of your doctor. 

Additional Read: Stroke in Brain

Alzheimer’s is a hard-hitting reality but it is not the end of things. Be aware of the services required by people suffering from Alzheimer’s to help them live a better life. You can book doctor consultation online on Bajaj Finserv Health to get answers about Alzheimer’s and other age-related health conditions from experts. You can also browse the Aarogya Care Plans to look for health insurance schemes that are suitable for you and your family members. In this time and age, it is always better to be prepared and secure with regards to healthcare.  

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