Everyone forgets things once in a while and so, if you often forget where you kept your keys, or even the names of your co-workers, it is regarded as being quite normal. However, when this takes a different dimension, it could be the onset of a degenerative disease called Alzhemier’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the commonest cause of premature senility. People who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease forget things way more often and may repeat statements or questions over and over. They could forget something important that you mentioned to them or might not even show up for an important appointment, because they didn’t remember. Over a period of time they can forget the names of family members and everyday objects.
Signs of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer sufferers could be confused as to what the time could be, or even what day it is, they could also lose sense of what year they are in, their location or the circumstances of their lives. Since this condition affects other brain abilities too, the patients may not even be able to understand their surroundings and they may feel lost in familiar places too.
Alzheimer’s patients usually find it difficult to use the right words for many objects and activities, which makes taking part in a conversation a huge challenge. Gradually, the ability to read and write is also affected. Handling minor everyday issues may also become a grave challenge.
This condition also has a significant impact on how a person feels or acts. People who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease usually experience aimless wandering, aggressiveness, irritability, distrust, social withdrawal, depression, sleeping problems, obstinacy, mood swings and increased anxiety.
Causes of Alzheimer
The exact causes that lead to the formation of plaques and tangles in the brain are still a mystery to most medical researchers and scientists. However, it is believed that this disease is a result of genetic, environmental and lifestyle related factors that have a slow impact over the brain, over a period of time. In a few instances, i.e., around 5% of the time, Alzheimer’s disease is the result of a particular genetic change which guarantees that the disease will be developed by a patient.
While the exact causes for Alzheimer’s disease have not been understood completely, the effect of the disease on the brain is quite evident. The disease damages the brain and kills the cells. Therefore, studies indicate that a brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease has fewer cells than a healthy brain. The connections between the surviving cells are also a lot fewer. Over a period of time, the brain may also shrink.
Managing Alzheimer’s disease
Even though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, patients are advised to undergo treatment to help them with memory symptoms and other changes, for a while. There are two types are medicines that are prescribed for this purpose. However, in addition to medication, it is important for family members and close associates to create a supportive environment for the patient. This may include:
- Getting rid of excess furniture, rugs or other items that can cause them to trip, Installing sturdy handrails in bathrooms and stairways, removing sharp objects from areas they can easily access them, keeping a close eye on them to avoid them wandering off and getting lost.
- It is also important for Alzheimer’s patients to follow a regular exercise routine. A 30-minute walk each day can help improve physical and mental health. However, a patient should be made to carry some kind of identification and address at all times. Alternately, chair exercises or a stationary bike may also be a good idea. Being socially active is also a good form of exercise for the brain.
- Many Alzheimer’s patients forget to take their meals on time or just lose interest in eating. Those who live alone and take care of themselves also show a tendency of preparing an unhealthy combination of foods. Therefore, it is common for them to suffer from several different types of digestive problems.
It is important for family members and caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients to make sure that they eat regular meals throughout the day and on time. In addition to plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and low fat dairy products. A lot of liquid is also very important for Alzheimer’s patients. However, coffee or other caffeinated items should be strictly avoided at all times.
(Image credit – www.techtimes.com)