Alzheimers affects that part of brain that control thought, memory, and language, it is one of the most common form of Dementia (destruction of brain cells to cause decline in mental functions)but later it spreads to all regions of brain rendering it ineffective. The onset of Alzheimer slowly progresses and alters personality and behaviour.
In most cases anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, as well as delusions or hallucinations are observed to be the few changes that is caused by the disease. Memory and thinking process are marred in the initial stages of Alzheimer. It is one of the rising causes of death in elderlies, as patients diagnosed for this disease barely survive more than six years. But the duration of the disease vary between three to twenty years.
There is no permanent cure for the disease so far but effective care and support can help improve condition in the tenure of diagnosis to death. However, the condition can be avoided if healthy ageing takes place in an individual. It also helps to reduce the risk of Alzheimer. The few best measure to ensure healthy ageing involves constant check on cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, stress reduction, socially active lifestyle and regular exercise for body and mind. Unfortunately it takes longer to diagnose the disease as the brain damage starts much before the symptoms appear. By the time symptoms are visible nerve cells are already degenerated and extinct. The symptoms of disease vary but the first thing one notices is the loss of memory that starts interfering and affecting the regular life of an individual.
Apart from this other noticeable changes are confusion and disassociation with the language and fumbling in familiar surroundings. The first sign noticed should be communicated to family or physician so that it can be identified early and the treatment is started without any further delay. Though there are no particular medical examination to conclude the disease but various tests (including physical and mental) and reviews from family and friend can benefit in diagnosis of the condition. Depression, hormonal changes such as thyroid and side effect of medication act catalyst for those who suffer from the disease and also makes prone to those who don’t. Excessive drinking, unhealthy lifestyle and improper diet can also propel Dementia.
There are medication available to delay the process of brain cell degeneration but they are not known to curb or stop the process altogether. Thus it just slows down the process rather than eliminating the danger of the disease. However, improving quality of life by subtle understanding, care and altering the surrounding can tremendously help the patients suffering from Alzheimer.
The ongoing research in the field of Alzheimer is concentrated on reversal of nerve and brain cell damage. And also to further stop and reduce the degenerative condition in an individual. They are also working on the strategy to optimise the delay of disease and the role of cardiovascular and other health condition to affect the condition.
Those having a family history are more prone to the disease as the genetic makeup makes them more pronounced to be at the risk. More researches have brought forth the theory of plaques and tangles in brain tissue this considered to be more definitive way to diagnose the disease other than this brain scan is followed by tests of urine, blood and spinal fluid. It has also come to light that non-steroidal drugs can help slow the progression of Alzheimer. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and is known to slow the progress. The hormone estrogen is also known to ease the condition.
The Alzheimer’s Association has been formed with the intention to share, educate and strengthen the caregiver and family members of Alzheimer patients.