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Alzheimer's Disease - Know Everything About It!

MBBS, MD - General Medicine, DM - Neurology
Neurologist, Chennai  •  29 years experience
Alzheimer's Disease - Know Everything About It!

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological, irreversible, progressive brain disorder. It is a chronic neurodegenerative dementia that causes the death of brain cells, causing memory loss and cognitive decline. It affects a person’s thinking and behavior. The symptoms develop slowly and get worse as time passes.

Causes:
As it is a kind of dementia, Alzheimer’s is caused by the death of brain cells. Over a course of time, brain cells die progressively and at the end, the tissue is left with fewer nerve cells and connections. As a result, the total brain size shrinks. Tiny inclusions called plaques and tangles can be seen in the postmortem. These cannot be seen or tested in a living Alzheimer’s affected brain. These plaques are given the name “amyloid plaques” because they are found among the dying cells of the brain when a protein called beta-amyloid builds. The tangles stay in the neurons; they are formed from a protein called tau.

There are several reasons behind all this, some of which are listed below-

  1. Anti-anxiety medications
  2. Hitting on the head too many times
  3. Regularly sleep-deprived
  4. Loneliness
  5. Diabetes in the brain
  6. Old age
  7. Genetic line
  8. Down’s syndrome
  9. Cardiovascular diseases

Symptoms:
Alzheimer’s disease damages the brain, so the clinical signs and symptoms begin to show very early. The symptoms are-

  1. Memory loss
  2. Agitation and mood swings
  3. Poor judgment
  4. The trouble with money calculations
  5. Difficulty doing familiar tasks
  6. Trouble in planning or solving a problem
  7. Confusion with time and place
  8. Difficulty in communicating
  9. Loss of motivation
  10. Inappropriate behavior
  11. Aggressive personality
  12. Childlike behavior

Preventing Alzheimer’s disease:
Alzheimer’s disease ultimately results in death. Even if there are treatments, they cannot fully cure it. So it’s better to try to prevent it before it happens. Ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease are-

  1. Eating more fruits and vegetables.
  2. Eating berries every day.
  3. Increasing omega-3 fatty acids.
  4. Taking folic acid supplements.
  5. Drinking grape juice or red wine with evening meal.
  6. Doing the Mediterranean style diet.
  7. Controlling the blood pressure.
  8. Having strong social support.

Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is a long time process.
  2. First of all, doctors perform a physical exam to check the overall neurological health. By this, they check muscle strength, reflexes, walking ability, sense of sight and hearing, coordination and balance.
  3. Then comes the blood test to find the cause of confusion and memory loss by checking the thyroid disorder and vitamin deficiency.
  4. Then they perform the neuropsychological test and check the mental status.
  5. Then there are other tests, like MRI, CT, and PET.
  6. After all this, drugs are given and a safe and supportive environment is created with proper exercise and nutrition.

Alzheimer’s disease is undoubtedly the worst kind of disease. Hence, it is highly recommended to contact a doctor as soon as any symptom is noticed.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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