What’s Alzheimer’s Disease? Learn How To Get To Know It Better Now!

The definition oGetting To Know Alzheimer’s Disease Better

What’s Alzheimer’s disease?
Medical professionals, caregivers, family members or patients know that Alzheimer’s e revolves around the symptoms.

Doctors base the diagnosis largely on the symptoms the patient presents.
Any history that family members or other close friends can offer at the time the diagnosis process is occurring is also helpful.

I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s. 
I can fairly say this has been a horrible experience.
In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the disease and its consequences.
Knowing what to expect and how to deal with it surely would have helped.

Treatments are often based on the cognitive and behavioral symptoms.
They can change as the disease progresses, and the symptoms intensify.

It is imperative that all concerned parties understand as much as possible about the symptoms.
They should also be aware of the role they play in making the patient as comfortable as possible throughout the unfolding of the disease.

The cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s refer to those symptoms that are connected to the attention, decision making, learning, memory, perception, planning, problem-solving and reasoning aspects of how our brain works.
People use these cognitive abilities in everything they do from what they do around the house to tasks they do at their jobs or in their careers.
Even daily living need cognitive skills to complete.
Tasks like brushing our teeth, getting dressed, planning, balancing the checkbook, shopping and preparing meals.
When symptoms include a degree of loss of ability to perform these tasks the individual will have difficulty functioning.
This inability to function differentiates normal aging symptoms of occasional memory lapse with the more severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Behavioral Symptoms

The behavioral symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s have more to do with other attention points.
Attitudinal stances, gestures the patient makes, the ability to physically move about, and the reactions the individual has to certain situations that are inappropriate.

Behavioral symptoms are different from cognitive symptoms.
And symptoms that relate to the emotional processes (our feelings) are still quite different from those mentioned above that are related to our cognitive or behavioral symptoms.

When diagnosing Alzheimer’s the doctor will examine the patient for signs of other conditions or diseases.
Other conditions or diseases may cause the symptoms as well.
Some testing such as urine or blood tests will also be done
To help make the diagnosis scans such as CT and MRI may also be done.

But the most important part of diagnosing the disease is still a good medical history and the symptoms history presented by the patient, and close family members and friends.

The medical history includes family history of Alzheimer’s.
Family and close friends can describe symptoms that the patient is unable to communicate to the doctor (perhaps as a result of the disease).

The treatment of Alzheimer’s addresses the nature of the symptoms.
Treatment usually includes a combination of both medicated and non-medicated methods.
The disease is also managed by looking at easing the symptoms.
Relieving the symptoms is necessary for the comfort of the patient.
It allows the patient to have as much independence as possible within a circle of safety and comfort.

Alzheimer The Elderly Most Common Dementia

When it comes to the elderly, the one that stands out as the most common of those categorized as dementia in nature is, Alzheimer’s e (AD).

The definition of Dementia is any medical condition that interrupts the way the brain normally works.
Thought control, language and memory are the part of the brain that Alzheimer’s interrupts.

Scientists are learning new things about how this interruption affects the elderly and other Alzheimer patients.
But for now, scientists and other researchers have not isolated the cause of Alzheimer’s.
This devastating disease affects millions who are suffering in the United States alone.

The disease typically manifests itself at around age 65, which is why it is referred to as a disease of the elderly.
By the time individuals are 85 or more, half of them have AD.
Unfortunately, this statistics leads some to believe that AD is a normal part of aging, it is not.

Alzheimer’s is a disease and is not a normal part of the human condition.

There are ways to identify it, and new studies are being conducted to find prevention and treatments for this disease.

Hallmarks Of Alzheimer’s

“Hallmarks of AD” have been identified by scientists within the brain that are senile or neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.
Other changes within the brain in individuals with AD have also been identified that are not present in those of the same age who do not have AD.

Those with AD have a loss of nerve cells in certain areas of the brain that are essential to good memory and mental abilities.
There are also lower levels of brain chemicals.
These brain chemicals are necessary to carry messages back and forth from nerve cells to the brain receptacles that process thoughts and memories.

These characteristics of AD block messages in the brain.
This results in the manifestation of memory loss, and abnormal thinking processes as well as language loss.

Symptoms Of AD

Elderly individuals may experience the following symptoms if they are suffering from AD:
A slow progression of any of the following

  • difficulty remembering names, activities they have participated in, events that have occurred that they were previously aware of,
  • familiar people and cognitive skills like the ability to work everyday math problems.
    When these symptoms first appear they may irritate the individual but usually do not cause too much of an alarm.

As the disease progresses, as it is known to do, the symptoms will become more visible.
Not only to the individual but also to those around him or her.
They soon start to forget how to do daily care tasks like, “how to brush teeth,” or how to “take a bath or shower.”
They start to have difficulty speaking, reading, writing or understanding what is being said to them.
This may create such confusion that they can even become anxious or aggressive.
Sometimes they become so confused or forgetful that they wander away from home and other familiar surroundings.
This progression of symptoms leads to a request for a diagnosis by the individual or those who care about the person.
what's alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer’s Disease At A Glance

Scientific data and study results are available for doctors and other medical professionals about the disease.
Some striking facts about the illness stand out when you glance through the mountain of information available.

Specialists treating Alzheimer’s include

  • neurologists
  • neuroradiologists
  • neuropsychologists
  • psychiatrists
  • sleep professionals
  • physical medicine practitioners
  • and behavioral therapists.

All have their own spin on the disease from their professional perspective.
The patient and family members gather information from these specialists including the doctor and staff.
They can also find information in books, magazines, and support groups and the plenty of information available on the Internet.

The information that stands out the most when glancing through all that is available about Alzheimer’s e is that:

The Disease: It is incurable.

There is no going back to better health.
Memory will not improve, it will worsen, and eventually all memory will be gone.
Cognitive abilities will never go back to what they once were; in fact, they will steadily decline.
The patient’s very personality and behavioral patterns will change and worsen over time.
The disease is progressive in nature.
It robs the individual of all cognitive, and behavioral essence, leaving behind a shell of what the person was before the illness struck.

The Diagnostic Process:

There is no single conclusive test to determine that a person indeed has Alzheimer’s e.
The diagnosis is made based on a history of symptoms, interviews from the individual and those who are close such as family and friends.
And by findings from neurological examinations and other diagnostic tests some of which done to rule out other mental conditions or physical diseases.

The Treatment Process:

The treatment plan is designed around addressing the symptoms and making the patient comfortable and safe.
The treatment plan changes with the progression of the disease. Treatment can include both medicated and non-medicated methods of addressing the needs of the patients and to minimize or manage the symptoms.

The Prognosis:

The Prognosis is that death will usually occur as a result of a complication of Alzheimer’s such as an infection.
There is a gradual loss of independence, and a progressive loss of memory; cognitive skills and behavioral changes that will be nothing like the former individual.

Early diagnosis of the disease can buy more time for the person, family, and other loved ones because some medications may be able to slow the progression of the disease.

There is constant research being done to help improve how Alzheimer is managed and to perhaps one day find a way to prevent or cure the disease.

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Raymond

Blogger at Over60AndActive
Raymond has a masters degree in Economy and Clinical Psychology.
He reads a lot and loves to cycle and run (when the sun shines).
He enjoys travelling and cooking amongst many other things.
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