Alzheimer’s is a disease occurring mostly in older adults that changes the brain’s functions and gets worse on a gradual basis. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia which causes someone to lose most of their daily life activities, memory, intellectual and social skills. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease is dealing with loss of mental function and memory function due to the degeneration of their brain cells. The symptoms and effects of Alzheimer’s disease can be improved temporarily, but there is not a cure for this disease. The newest treatments are hoping to at least slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
There are no straightforward causes of Alzheimer’s disease though some people will have a higher risk factor. The biggest risk factor is advanced age. Most people who get Alzheimer’s will be over the age of 65; 10% of people over 65 develop Alzheimer’s disease and 50% of people over the age of 85 get Alzheimer’s disease. Additional risk factors include gene mutations, such as someone with a parent who has Alzheimer’s. If your mother or father has the disease, you have a 50% chance of getting the disease as well. Some of the other risk factors include coronary artery disease, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
The main symptom is the loss of memory and brain function, though there are also personality changes such as someone having less apathy, spontaneity, or avoiding social situations. Frequent physical injuries with no recollection of how they received the injury is another symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Behavioral symptoms include not dressing appropriately, irritability, agitation, and poor grooming habits. Advanced Alzheimer’s disease includes signs of dementia such as confusion and disorientation. The top 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss, inability to perform everyday tasks, language problems, disorientation, poor judgment, abstract thinking issues, constantly losing belongings, mood and behavior changes, personality changes, and loss of initiative.
The treatments for Alzheimer’s disease range from medication based treatments and those not involving medications. Psychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can also be treated with certain medications. There are two FDA-approved classifications of medications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease; partial glutamate antagonists and cholinesterase inhibitors. While they are approved, neither has a 100% success rate for slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s. Both of these treatment options use medications to improve the chemical neurotransmitters in the brain that a person tends to lack when they have Alzheimer’s disease. Non-medication treatments include improving the person’s social activities and doing things they used to enjoy such as singing, dancing, walking, and other activities. This won’t cure their disease but it keeps them positive and happy and trains their memory to remember more.