What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease or slowly characterized by a decrease in memory, ability to think, and changes in behavior in living everyday life. This disease makes brain tissue damaged over time.
Usually, this disease begins with mild senile symptoms such as being easily forgotten about events that have not been through long ago. Then gradually, other symptoms can appear such as often looking confused, difficulty communicating, experiencing anxiety disorders and dramatic mood swings, even unable to do activities without the help of others.
The average Alzheimer’s patient can only live for 8-10 years after being diagnosed. However, there are certain circumstances where patients can live longer if detected quickly and treated. Although this disease is usually not due to genetic factors, if there are family members who have this disease, then you are more at risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
How common is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s is a disease that generally occurs at the age of over 65 years. Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than men. If there are young people who experience this disease, it is usually due to abnormalities or brain injury. Always consult a doctor for more information.
Alzheimer’s disease Symptoms
Generally, the Alzheimer’s disease symptoms are divided into three stages, namely the initial stage, the middle stage, and the final stage.
1. Early Stage
In the initial stages, the signs and characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease are:
- Often forget the names of places and things.
- Often forget the conversation that was recently discussed.
- Frequently asking the same question or telling the same story repeatedly.
- Often find it more difficult to make decisions.
- Often feel confused.
- Often get lost in places that are often bypassed.
- Often wrong to put things in places where they should not be such as putting dishes in the washing machine.
- Difficulty in composing words in communication.
- Not interested in doing activities that used to be very popular.
- Prefer to remain silent and reluctant to try new things.
- Frequently changing mood swings
2. Mid Stage
In the middle stages, the signs and characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease are:
- Difficult to remember the name of his family or closest friends.
- Increases confusion and disorientation, for example, so often get lost and do not know what time it is.
- Mood changes that occur quickly.
- Impulsive, repetitive, or obsessive behavior.
- Begin to experience delusions and hallucinations.
- Problems with communicating.
- Difficulty doing spatial tasks, such as assessing distance.
At this stage, someone who has Alzheimer’s disease usually needs the support of others to help them in their daily activities. For example, they need help to eat, dress, or even use the toilet.
3. The Final Stage
In the final stage, the signs and characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease are:
- Difficulty eating and swallowing (dysphagia).
- Difficulty to change position or move without help.
- Drastic weight loss or gain.
- Frequent bed wetting or unintentional bowel movements.
- Difficulty communicating.
- Changes in emotion and nature.
- No longer able to perform normal activities due to loss of memory regarding the stages of carrying out daily activities such as bathing, eating, and defecating.
The level of symptom development of Alzheimer’s disease varies from person to person. Generally, the symptoms will develop slowly over several years. There may be other symptoms that are not listed.
If you have questions about signs of the disease, consult a doctor.
When to go to the doctor?
If you experience symptoms as mentioned above, consult your doctor immediately. Each body acts differently from each other. Always discuss with your doctor to get the best solution regarding the situation you are experiencing.
Alzheimer’s disease Causes
Until now, the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown. Even so, experts believe that for most people this disease is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors that affect people over time.
Although the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet fully understood, its effect on the brain is clear. This disease can damage and destroy brain cells slowly. In Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells that store and process information begin to weaken and die. In addition, abnormal proteins are produced which create plaque and buildup around and inside cells. So, it can interfere with communication.
Some risk factors that can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease are:
- Age is the strongest risk factor, especially after being 65 years old.
- History of the same disease in family members.
- People who experience mild cognitive impairment.
- Head injury.
- Unhealthy lifestyles such as lack of physical activity, smoking, eating only a few fruits and vegetables.
- Having cardiovascular disease, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, elevated homocysteine levels.
- The learning process and social ties. Low levels of formal education, boring work, lack of brain-training activities such as reading, playing games, playing musical instruments, and lack of social communication.
Alzheimer’s disease Treatment
The information described is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.
Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured. Drugs can only slow the progression of diseases including cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. In addition, your doctor may prescribe additional sedatives that help reduce anxiety, depression, irritability, and other behavioral problems.
This disease will make people have difficulty adapting to the new environment. So, you should not try to change the environment around patients (home, caregivers), if it is not really important. You need to write down some information and put it in several places in the house to help patients remember important rights.
Alzheimer’s disease Diagnose
Your doctor will diagnose Alzheimer’s by examining your overall health, treatment history, and intelligence. The doctor will also examine reasoning ability, hand-eye coordination, balance, and olfactory sensations, and signs of depression at the same time. Brain scans and blood tests may be used to identify other causes of this disease, such as hypothyroidism or vitamin B12 deficiency.
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Lifestyle changes or medications that can overcome Alzheimer’s disease are:
- Eating healthy eating with balanced nutrition.
- Stop smoking and limit the consumption of alcoholic drinks.
- Trying to get the ideal weight.
- If possible, exercise or do regular physical activity.
- Looking for people who can support and care for you. You or a family member might need home care to get better care.
- Try to simplify your daily routine and living space.
- Enjoy life and do not think negatively about the illness.
If you want to ask, consult your doctor to get the best solution for you.