With almost 5 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, it is essential to know the signs, causes, and symptoms of this disorder. Today, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in America.
Aging naturally creates changes as the body and brain slow down, resulting in a much slower learning process. In the brain, neurons communicate with one another over synapses communicating every thought and regulatory function in the brain. In order for the neurons to function properly they need to be free of buildup between their connections to transmit information.
Once plaque forms between the spaces of brain cells, damage can be caused in these cells, which may even be destroyed permanently. Plaque forms in areas that are critical to memory, which will eventually clog communication between neurons, which can cause memory loss, forgetfulness, and disrupt the basic activities that cells need to conduct to survive.
Shocking as it may be, sometimes Alzheimer’s disease develops very early on, in one’s midlife years. Sufferers of early onset Alzheimer’s make up 1/10 of those with the illness, although the vast majority of those with the disease are above the age of 65. With the aging of populations worldwide, it is suspected that the numbers of those with Alzheimer’s will more than triple by the middle of the 21st century.
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult, as the illness itself is similar to normal conditions of aging. Signs involve unusual behavior in a partner and severe memory loss. Many times, a person with Alzheimer’s is unable to admit that they have a problem and an intervention on the part of family is needed.
Treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease include psychotropic drugs, which can help manage aggressive, as those with moderate to severe forms of the illness can experience bouts of violence, due to an erosion of impulse control. There is currently no cure for this illness; however, the future looks bright, and there are multiple research programs being conducted around the world.
Therapy is a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, but it is widely criticized in some circles as being ineffective. Research is still being conducted in this field, so a final judgment about these methods must be withheld. There are also a few medications that have been shown to be effective in masking the symptoms of Alzheimer’s in the short term, although these do not actually cure the disease.
There exists a wide variety of information about Alzheimer’s disease, but with a little research one can become more informed about the topic. Recognizing the signs of Alzheimer’s is critical to helping a loved one, and with a number of treatment options on the market there is no excuse to not seek treatment for the one you love.