I. What is Alzheimer’s disease (AD)?
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one type of dementia that starts slowly but gradually worsens people’s memories overtime. It occurs to elderly people, aged 65 or above. On the first phase, it is often mistaken for normal ageing. The patients’ life expectancy is approximately from 3 to 9 years before they pass away. In 2015, the disease took away the lives of some 29.8 million people worldwide. In developed countries, AD is one of the most financially costly illnesses.
II. The four stages of AD
- Pre-dementia: Initially, it is frequently confused for normal ageing or stress. The most noticeable symptom is short term memory loss. This means people with AD have difficulties remembering recent events and recently-learnt information or fact.
- Early stage: The patients have problems with language and fluency as the ability of recalling simple words starts to shrink in the daily conversations.
- Moderate stage: They find it hard to read, and write properly. Apart from that, they might misplace their items inside the house. And what is more severe is that they start to forget about how to perform normal tasks, such as brushing their teeth, combing their hair, holding a fork or spoon to eat and the like. Likewise, they may forget the names of their family members and friends and lose a sense of direction.
- Final stage: During this phase, the language patients use turns out to be from simple phrases to single words or even the entire loss of speech. They may be unable to feed themselves due to the fact that they are bedridden or unconscious. Consequently, the patients are completely dependent upon their family or caregivers. This may create stress for the families and caregivers; they may have to move the person from home care to long-term care facilities
III. The Causes of AD
- The failure of the brain proteins: They fail to function normally, and disrupt the work of brain cells (neurons). Then, the neurons are damaged, lose connections to each other and eventually die.
- Family history: Children whose parents have carried AD are likely to have the disease as well when they get older.
- Past head trauma: You are also likely to get such a disease as you get older if you have ever experienced severe head injury in the early days.
- Insomnia: if you have a hard time sleeping at night, you might as well be at high risk of getting AD.
Even if AD was found roughly a century ago, there has been no actual treatment to cure it yet. However, the following are some methods expected to prevent AD:
- Take part in intellectual activities, such as playing chess and board games, completing crosswords, reading books and learning a second language.
- Being on diet and exercising regularly can also reduce the risk of AD.
- From light to moderate consumption of alcohol but red wine in particular, it is also recommended as a way to reduce the risk of AD.
- Mayo clinic. December 08, 2018. Alzheimer’s disease.
- Daraff RB, et al. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. In: Bradley’s Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.Saunders Elsevier; 2016.
- Alzheimer’s disease fact sheet. National Institute on Ageing
By: Mr. Mohammathnasiet Sales