Alzheimer’s Disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Other Important Information
Most people have associated Alzheimer’s with aging. Studies reveal that it can occur at any age. It is a slow and degenerative disease of the brain. There is a lot of confusion among the people regarding this condition. That is why you need to read along and know some facts regarding Alzheimer’s disease. Here we have shared these for your knowledge.
Identifying the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease early is good. Here is a list of symptoms that may help you identify this:
- You may suffer from memory loss that affects your daily life.
- You are unable to concentrate or focus on work.
- You may get disoriented in different times and places.
- You may be unable to maintain regular personal hygiene.
- You may observe personality and mood changes.
- You may experience trouble with speech and writing.
There are many ways in which this problem can be detected. When you visit a doctor, he may first ask certain questions. These questions are aimed at testing your memory. He may start by asking basic questions and then ask more complex questions. If a patient is suffering, he will have difficulty answering all the questions.
Apart from this, the doctor may also conduct the following tests to determine whether the person has Alzheimer’s:
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan: Plaque is a protein substance related to Alzheimer’s Disease. The PET Scan helps to detect the plaque build-up in the brain.
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: Doctors look for abnormal characteristics in the brain with the help of CT Scans.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRIs are very effective in detecting bleeding, inflammation as well as structural issues in the brain.
Apart from these, the doctor may ask for a blood test. It helps to check your genes to see your vulnerability to it. A thorough evaluation helps to decide whether you are suffering from this disease. The test also helps to identify the stage of the disease and take steps accordingly.
1. Medicines Cannot Cure It
Alzheimer’s Disease cannot be cured with the help of medicines. However, medicines can help to manage the condition of the patient. It can help to make the journey easy for the patient. It is a progressive form of dementia. The medicines can also help to slow the progress of the disease.
Increased awareness regarding it among the relatives and caretakers of patients is necessary. This helps in dealing with the patient better.
2. It Can Occur to Anyone at Any Stage
In the past, Alzheimer’s Disease was synonymous with old age. However, this is not true. It may not always occur during old age. While most cases are diagnosed after the age of 65, this is not always the case. In cases where the patient is diagnosed with it sooner, it is referred to as early-onset Alzheimer’s.
3. It’s Not The Same As Dementia
Many people irreversibly use the terms dementia and Alzheimer’s. You must know that both are not the same. Alzheimer’s is a subset of dementia. Both are memory-related health problems caused by brain damage.
Dementia is a broad term used to describe memory loss and confusion. It is a progressive form of dementia. The symptoms may vary from one patient to another.
4. The Progress Rate for Alzheimer’s Disease May Vary
The progress rate is different for each individual. There are usually 7 stages of this disease. Here we have described these stages:
- First Stage: In this stage, there are no symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is possible to make a diagnosis of the condition even at this stage. This can be done by studying the family history of the patient and running tests.
- Second Stage: You may observe some mild symptoms at this stage. This could include forgetfulness.
- Third Stage: In this stage, near and dear ones may be able to observe mild symptoms. They may notice memory loss and lack of concentration in the patient.
- Fourth Stage: Most patients with Alzheimer’s are diagnosed during this stage of the disease. This is also a mild stage with noticeable memory loss. This is what brings the patient for consultation.
- Fifth Stage: At this stage, the symptoms start getting severe. The patient finds it difficult to live without assistance from caregivers.
- Sixth Stage: This is a relatively later stage. In this stage, the patient needs assistance for handling routine tasks. These could include putting on clothes, eating, and bathing.
- Seventh Stage: This is supposed to be the last stage of Alzheimer’s Disease. In this, the patient fails to show facial expressions. He is also unable to speak to others.
After the patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he may live for 11 to 20 years. The duration will depend on the patient’s overall health and the way the disease progresses.
Things To Keep In Mind
In Alzheimer’s Disease, the primary caregivers of the patient face a lot of challenges. This is because of the lack of knowledge regarding the condition. Thankfully, there are a lot of studies being conducted on this front. Here are some things that primary caregivers need to know:
1. Quitting Bad Health Habits Can Help
Smoking can lead to faster progression. Smoking damages physical and mental health. It affects the cognitive functioning of patients. It may also result in anxiety issues in patients.
2. Lifestyle Changes Can Help
It is advisable that the patients have an active social life. They should be encouraged to stay active. They should also have a good exercise routine. Such lifestyle changes help to slow the progress of the disease.
3. There is No Cure For Alzheimer’s Disease
Even with medicines, Alzheimer’s Disease cannot be cured. The medicines only help to slow the progress. They also help to control negative emotions like anxiety and depression.
4. Personality Changes May Occur
The person in the later stages of Alzheimer’s may behave very differently compared to what he was earlier. Personality changes are common in patients. There is no reason to worry that the person is behaving like a different human being.
Alzheimer’s Disease can be challenging to the patient as well as his caregivers. That is why they should be emotionally prepared to deal with the challenges. It is important to keep the patient physically and mentally active.
This will ensure that the progress of the disease is slowed down. It will also make life simpler for the patient and the caregivers.
July 30, 2020 Sam Bell