Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable disorder which makes brain cells die and disturbs neural connections, resulting in loss of brain function. Medicinal therapy in this case alleviates symptoms’ manifestation and reduces the speed of changes. Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely stop the progress of illness.
Reasons for Alzheimer’s disease
Although this illness is quite spread, not everyone knows what causes Alzheimer’s disease. Definitely, there aren’t exact reasons leading to the development of the ailment. However, there are several hypotheses concerning this issue. Patients tend to have a decline in the level of acetylcholine. It’s a neurotransmitter that is involved in the transmission of impulses between neurons. Actually, beta-amyloid scurf in brain cells is considered the main cause of the disease. They block the functioning of neurons, which ends up with their death.
There are no certified products to prevent or dissolve amyloid plaques. Neurofibrillary tangles, which appear due to abnormalities in the structure of the tau protein, interfere with the normal functioning of the brain. The reasons for their appearance have not been investigated. Another factor that leads to Alzheimer’s disease is abnormalities in some chromosomes, specifically in the 1st, 14th, 19th and 21st. Therefore, the relatives of the ill are at risk too. Generally, it affects the elderly (over 65 years of age), but the disease can also make repercussions to the younger group of patients.
There are 4 main stages of the illness:
- early stage: pre-dementia;
- early dementia;
- stage of moderate dementia;
- severe dementia.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease symptoms vary depending on the stage of disease. The first period is characterized by short-term memory disorders and apathy. Men may experience aggression and provocative behavior during apathy. Very often, such reactions may be a result of stress.
However, if forgetfulness and apathy progress, then this is a wake-up call. In early dementia, the diagnosis is usually made. It becomes more difficult for the patient to, for example, put things on the shelf, tie shoelaces, prepare food. During a conversation, it may take a lot of time for a person to recall the name of a simple object.
Despite all the symptoms, the patients may well take care of themselves on their own. The third phase manifests in impaired spatial orientation, deterioration of long-term memory, and almost complete loss of short-term memory. The person cannot return home on their own, forgets about a recent meal, does not remember the faces or names of relatives.
Eventually, a person can still take care of himself, but constant supervision is necessary. During the last stage of disease, the patient loses the ability to live independently, including the loss of control over physiological processes, speech, up to the inability to swallow food and move.
Diagnostics of Alzheimer’s disease
While making a diagnosis, the doctor first conducts an oral conversation with the patient and his relatives to identify the stage of the disease. The patient then performs a test to check the functioning of the brain. It includes mathematical and logical operations, retelling of text, reproduction of patterns, finding connections between words. EEG, blood tests, plasma, cerebrospinal fluid analysis can also be prescribed.
Phophylaxy and cure of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease treatment involves:
- learning foreign languages;
- memory training;
- solving crosswords;
- physical activity;
- refusal from alcohol;
- balanced diet.
Finally, this illness is very serious. Altzgeiner’s disease is hard to treat when it has started progressing. So, when the first symptoms appear, you should immediately consult a general practitioner or family doctor to determine an actual diagnosis.