Alzheimer’s disease is a rapidly spreading disease that damages memory and other important mental functions. It is the most common cause of dementia, which greatly reduces our intellectual capacity. These changes can prove to be bad for our day-to-day life. In Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells begin to build and die on their own, causing a persistent decline in memory and mental functions.
Also check out: Tips to deal with Exam Stress
Difference between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are not the same. Dementia is a holistic term used to describe memory, problems with daily activities, and communication disabilities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and it affects memory, language, and thinking over time.
Although the symptoms of both these conditions may be similar, it is important to know the difference between the two. Both the conditions have the following symptoms –
- loss of thinking ability
- memory loss
- problems communicating
Some types of dementia will include some of the following Alzheimer’s symptoms but not others, which helps to differentiate between the two conditions.
- Difficulty remembering recent events or conversations.
- depression or depression
- change in behavior
- difficulty speaking, swallowing, or walking
Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
There are three stages of Alzheimer’s disease –
Preliminary Stage –
Problems recognizing friends and family members. Language problems and difficulty in reading, writing, and working with numbers. Difficulty organizing thoughts and thinking carefully. Inability to learn new tasks or deal with new and unexpected situations. unreasonable anger. Perceptual problems, such as problems getting up from a chair or setting a table, repeating words or movements, and sometimes muscle tremors. hallucinations, confusion, doubts or insanity, and irritability. Impulse control problems, such as using poor language at inappropriate times or places. Disturbance of behavioral symptoms, such as restlessness, excitement, anxiety, crying, and wandering.
Middle Stage –
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease will become more noticeable as the disease progresses. Some chores will be difficult for the affected person, and he or she should not drive, handle bills, or work independently. Despite the fact that his or her memory loss has worsened, he or she may still recall crucial information about their life and loved ones. As this stage progresses, the individual may demand more attention.
It’s critical for loved ones and caregivers to seek instruction about the behavioral changes they can expect and ways for dealing with them throughout this stage. In order to avoid caregiver burnout, it’s also critical that caregivers seek help for themselves.
The final stage of Alzheimer’s disease is the most challenging, but it is also the shortest part of the illness’s course in most cases. Around-the-clock care is frequently required at this time. This is when proactive planning and communication about the wishes of the person affected during the early stages of the disease can be beneficial and reduce caregiver stress.
It’s crucial to remember that, despite the fact that traditional communication is frequently severely limited during this stage, caretakers and loved ones may still be able to communicate with the individual who has been afflicted. They can express their concern and love by using their senses to communicate, such as touch, singing, or staring at something.
Also check out: Catatonic Schizophrenia – Symptoms, Causes.
Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease
At present, there is no proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but scientific research is going on on this subject. Until now it is believed that reducing the risk of heart disease can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Several factors that increase the risk of heart disease can also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Some such important factors are – high blood pressure high cholesterol overweight diabetes (sugar disease) .
Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease
Doctors cannot definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s disease before death because they can closely examine the brain under a microscope after death, but they can test for other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease. These tests are –
Health History Check
Your doctor will do a physical examination of you and ask questions about your past and present health. like – Any trouble with your symptoms and daily activities. Other medical problems now or in the past. the medicines you take.
It is a short test that tests your problem-solving skills, attention span, counting skills, and memory, etc. These tests will help your doctor know if you have problems with the parts of your brain involved in learning, memory, thinking, or planning skills.
In a CT scan, a machine takes X-rays of your body in several different ways over a very short period of time and a computer converts the scanned images into a series. CT scans can show normal brain changes in the later stages of Alzheimer’s.
MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make very clear pictures of your body and help doctors see if a tumor or a stroke is causing Alzheimer ‘s-like symptoms. It can also help show brain changes associated with the disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment
Alzheimer’s is a complex disease for which there is no single drug or other intervention that can successfully treat it, and no such treatment is likely to be found. Current approaches to treatment seek to maintain patients’ mental function, control behavioral symptoms and reduce symptoms of illness. There are currently several drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can provide people with a longer period of comfort, a better life, and independence, as well as encourage and support the family members who care for them.
Most drugs work best in the early or middle stages of Alzheimer’s. For example, they may reduce some symptoms, such as temporary memory loss. It is important to understand that none of these drugs prevent the disease by itself. Consult your doctor about which medicines are appropriate for you or your loved one.
Complications of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease can lead to memory and language problems. A person with Alzheimer’s disease is not able to Express: Pain (eg, dental pain). Problems expressing other disease symptoms. Problems following the prescribed treatment plan. The obstacle in recognizing and describing drug side effects. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses into its final stages, brain changes begin to affect bodily functions. Such as problems with swallowing, balance, and bowel and bladder control.
These effects can lead to additional health problems such as – People with Alzheimer’s often carry food or fluid into their airways and lungs due to pneumonia and other infections – “difficulty swallowing”, which can lead to pneumonia. Inability to empty the bladder may require the placement of a tube to drain and collect urine, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections, which can be more serious and even life-threatening. People with Alzheimer’s become weaker and at increased risk of falls.
Feature Image credits Pixabay