If you’ve been reading the news lately, it’s hard to miss the growing awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. Although there’s still a lot we don’t know about Alzheimer’s, researchers have made great strides in understanding this devastating neurodegenerative condition. But what exactly is Alzheimer’s disease? What are the symptoms? And how can you tell if you or someone close to you has it? In this post, we’ll answer those questions and more.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, a brain disorder that disrupts memory and other cognitive functions. The symptoms often appear in individuals over 65 years old but can also affect younger people.
Alzheimer’s is not just one disease; it’s made up of multiple disorders with different causes and outcomes.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be different for each person, but they often include the following:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulties understanding visual images and spatial relationships (such as knowing where you are in a room)
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- You may also experience difficulty swallowing food properly and unintentional weight loss from not being able to eat normally because of swallowing problems or difficulty swallowing medications correctly (if prescribed).
What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Alzheimer’s Disease?
Dementia is a general term that refers to a number of conditions that cause memory problems and other changes in thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but there are many others.
Other types of dementias include vascular (caused by blood vessel problems), frontotemporal (affecting frontal lobes), Lewy body (which causes Parkinson’s symptoms), and Huntington’s diseases.
How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Develop?
There are several theories about what might be causing this damage – including free radicals (highly reactive molecules), amyloid plaques (protein fragments), and tau tangles (another type of protein fragment).
It affects more women than men and is the most common cause of dementia in people over 65. However, younger people can get it to-in fact, about 5% percent of people with early-onset Alzheimer’s are under 65 years old when they’re diagnosed!
Alzheimer’s disease isn’t contagious; you can’t catch it from someone else who has it (or vice versa). It also doesn’t affect children or teenagers- only adults over 65 years old (or sometimes younger).
What Are The Treatment Options For Alzheimer’s Disease?
There are several treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease. Medications can help to manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Cognitive training can improve memory and thinking skills, while physical therapy helps with mobility issues. Occupational therapy teaches patients how to manage daily tasks like bathing or dressing. Diet changes may also benefit some people with Alzheimer’s disease and other therapies like music therapy, art therapy, and pet therapy (for example, dogs).
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is important to understand the cause and available treatments. The sooner you recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and seek treatment, the more likely you are to benefit from available therapies. It is also important that family members or caregivers understand what they can do to help their loved ones who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.