Understanding Alzheimer’s disease is important. Learning and accepting how this condition affects each of us.
A recent study conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association reported that there is an estimated 5.8 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. That breaks down to one in every ten adults, aged 65 and older, have some form of the disease. A staggering 32 percent of adults, aged 85 and older, have Alzheimer’s dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most conventional cause of dementia in elderly people. Dementia, on its own, can be caused by a multitude of conditions, including strokes, brain tumors, chronic brain infections, hormonal problems, and even vitamin deficiencies.
The likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease increases as one ages. Alzheimer’s is not a standard outcome of aging but appears to be related to the toxic results of protein deposited in the brain called beta amyloid. According to sciencedirect.com, beta amyloid is defined as “a heterogeneous mixture of small peptides….”
While the majority of those affected by Alzheimer’s are 65 years of age and older, the disease has been shown to appear in individuals as young as 30 years of age. This has been reported to be a result of a genetic abnormality which results in higher amounts of beta amyloid being deposited in the brain.
Currently, there is no known treatment for Alzheimer.
Majority survive on average eight years after the initial symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. However, hospitals and clinics all over the United States are working daily on a cure.
The studies and trials are focused on how the disease can be avoided, its progression can be delayed, and improved therapies can be utilized.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
The earliest symptoms often seen in Alzheimer’s can at first seem more of an inconvenience than a disease. The following signs are present in the early stages:
- Difficulty remembering common items
- Confusion in the evening hours
- Inability to create new memories
- Inability to do simple math
- Making up stories
As the disease progresses through the brain, signs become more apparent and marked:
- Jumbled speech
- Repetition of own words
- Loss of appetite
- More aggression
Deepening age is by far the main risk factor for Alzheimer. Scientists understand the noticeably clear association between age and disease development. Family history and biology are also factors leading to the disease.
A further risk factor has to do with race. Research shows that Latino and African Americans are at greater risk for Alzheimer’s progression and dementia related symptoms.
In 2018, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported the following statistics:
- African American – 13.8 percent
- Hispanics –12.2 percent
- Non-Hispanic whites –10.3
- American Indian/Alaska Natives –9.1 percent
- Asian/Pacific Islanders –8.4 percent
Collective data reports are showing that cardiac activity is correlated with mental wellbeing, which means that people with cardiac dysfunction now appear to have neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Memory failure and certain other neurological effects can be treated with two separate kinds of FDA-approved drugs, cholinesterase inhibitors, and memantine. Cells are damaged at the source of these cognitive effects, and, while this cannot be reversed, various types of treatments can make it easier for the brain to function and decrease symptoms over years.
Due to the radical brain cell deterioration, often, the individual will show this frustration with heavy mood swings. Doctors should provide the patient and family with contacts on outside sources to aid in training and proper care during these last stages.
Preventing The Disease
While there are no definite ways to avoid an Alzheimer’s disease from arising, studies and data show that an aging approach, which is usually stable, leads to keeping the brain and the body in balance. It is essential to maintain a healthy body weight and eliminate smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.
The most beneficial steps to delay the onset of the condition tend to be a routine fitness regimen for the mind and body. It also appears especially useful to remain involved socially, since contact with others encourages brain function and can help reduce the loss of brain cells contributing to Alzheimer’s.