Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that worsens with time. Early symptoms include difficulty in remembering some recent events and confusion. As it advances other symptoms such as mood swings, disorientation, language problems and behavioral issues may also arise.
The person may later on withdraw from society as his or her body functions are lost. Affected people often require a care giver and can prove to be a burden if a family is not able to employ a professional care giver. They require a lot of attention from their family or those around them although exercise programs can be beneficial and can also improve one’s condition. AD is most common in people over the age of 60 and is also among the most financially costly diseases.
The cause of Alzheimer’s, is not well understood with some cases being believed to be genetic. Head injuries, stress, depression and hypertension can increase the risks of having Alzheimer’s. The disease is mostly misdiagnosed and sometimes can be mistaken for normal aging. There are no supplements or medications that can help decrease the risk of having Alzheimer’s but exercising often, a healthy diet and avoiding obesity might decrease the risks. There are no treatments that can reverse or stop symptoms.
During the early stage of AD, a person will forget names of family members, not remember episodes of forgetfulness, experience confusion and only his or her family members will notice it. During the middle stage, the person will have great difficulty in remembering recent learned information and have trouble in knowing where they are. During the late stage of AD, the person will experience sleeping problems, speaking problems, poor ability to think and may repeat the same conversations.
Progressive deterioration may later on hinder independence with those affected being unable to do common daily activities. Speaking problems occur due to ones inability to recall vocabulary. Death is caused by an external factor and not the disease itself.
Life expectancy of people with AD ranges between 3 to 10 years with less that 3% living for more than 13 years. Other diseases caused by aging such as diabetes, lung cancer, and heart problems are also related with shortened survival. Having a professional caregiver who will attend to the affected person can help reduce falls, confusion and cases where people with AD have run away from home.
AD is the cause of around 60% of dementia cases. Dementia symptoms are also commonly mistaken for aging or stress. Early symptoms can also affect common daily activities and short term memory loss. There isn’t much you can do for those with Alzheimer’s disease other that provide proper care and support.