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What is Alzheimer’s?
It is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to degenerate. It is the most common form of dementia. Protein misfolding and neural damage are some of the reasons for this condition. Since it is a long term disorder, it does not have early diagnosable symptoms. The symptoms include long term decline of behavioral, social skills, memory loss, and loss of independence.
Memory loss, repeated questions about the same topic, forgetting conversations, getting lost in familiar places, eventually forgetting names of family numbers, trouble in conversations, thinking and reasoning, multitasking, judgments and decision making, social interaction, everyday problems like cooking, walking in traffic, gaming, bathing.
Personality symptoms like depression, apathy, social withdrawal, mood swings, distress, insomnia, delusions.
Causes and risk factors
- Genetic presence in the family
- Protein misfolding in brain
- Neural damage
- Down syndrome
- Head trauma
- Poor sleep pattern
- Bad Lifestyle
- Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes
There are 2 types of drugs approved by the FDA
- Cholinesterase inhibitors
- Acricept ( Donepezil)
- Exelon ( Rivastigmine )
- Razadyne ( Galantamine )
- Memantine (Namenda)
(to treat cognitive symptoms like memory loss, confusion, and reasoning)
Not directly preventable.
- Improvement in lifestyle, diet, health, exercise and maintaining other factors like diabetes and hypertension, etc
- Quit smoking
- As studied long term learning and activities ensure brain cells working and prevent the early occurrence of Alzheimer’s.
Initially, the person might be unaware and may consider it as normal forgetfulness. However, their family may notice the change in behavior.
- Physical and neurological exam reflexes: Ability to get up from the chair and walk across the room, coordination, and balance.
- Lab tests for thyroid and vitamin deficiency.
- Mental and neuropsychological testing.
- Brain imaging: MRI, CT Scan, Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) test, PET amyloid test, Tau PET imaging for trauma, strokes, tumors.
What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia. The 2 most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia; both are irreversible. Alzheimer’s is the most common and form and cause of dementia.
Does Alzheimer’s have stages?
- Pre symptomatic: physical conditions exist in a person’s body long before they are diagnosed.
- The mild stage manifests as behavioral changes, confusion, and forgetfulness.
- Moderate stage: The patient starts needing help for carrying simple tasks, forgets personal history, and familiar people.
- Severe: Full disability, loss of sleep, total memory loss.
What are genetic risk factors?
The presence of the disease in the family genes may give early symptoms.
Is there a cure for Alzheimer’s?
Since the origin and the exact cause of the disease is unknown, there is no direct medication for this condition. However, there are drugs available for the relief of symptoms.
Are there sources of help for patients and families for Alzheimer’s patients?
Various government and NGOs are working for Alzheimer’s relief