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Things You Didn’t Know about Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a common disease that affects older people in various countries on earth. Together with Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, Alzheimer’s disease is considered the primary factor of dementia, a condition marked with progressive deterioration of cognitive and intellectual functions. Some of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include decline in memory, communication and language skills, temporal and spatial perception, and self-care ability. People with Alzheimer’s disease can hardly live alone and mostly need caretaker’s help. Due to their deteriorating condition, their care often gives rise to many issues, including emotional, familial, interpersonal, and financial. For every family whose member is suffering from this disease, serious and thoughtful dealing with the condition is considered necessary.

Facts about Alzheimer’s Disease
There are some interesting facts about Alzheimer’s disease that you need to know.
1.             Alzheimer’s disease shows terrifying statistics.
The Alzheimer’s Association’s Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures reports that one of nine Americans aged 65 are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and nearly half of Americans aged 85 live with it. At the present, according to the National Institute of Health’s statistics, more than 5 million Americans are suffering from this disease, yet more than half of them may not know that they are having it. The statistics also shows that this disease affects more women than men.
2.             Alzheimer’s disease may develop on young people.
Although Alzheimer’s disease generally affects older people, its signs can actually be identified on people as young as age 30. The symptoms might not be as obvious on young people as they are on older people, but anyone who experiences problem with their memory and cognition should beware of this disease.
3.             Alzheimer’s disease is one of the leading causes of death in the US.
Alzheimer’s disease ranks fifth among the top causes of death in the United States. Although Alzheimer’s disease treatment is consistently developed, the rate of Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths continues to increase. Compared to other major causes of death, such as heart attack and diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease is still considered a prominent cause of death.
4.             Alzheimer’s disease also negatively affects caregivers’ health and lifestyle.
As people with Alzheimer’s disease can hardly live without assistance, a caregiver plays an important role in maintaining their health and ability to cope with even the most basic necessities. The caregiving task, whether it is carried out by family members or hired caregiver, is never considered easy. It has been reported that a large number of caregivers suffer physical and emotional strains while they are assisting the affected people.
5.             Almost one-fifth of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease live unassisted.
Living without assistance can be dangerous for people with Alzheimer’s disease as they can take care of their basic necessities only if there is a caregiver nearby. Sadly, nearly 800,000 of the 5 million people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease live alone. Without caregiver assistance, they are at risk to being isolated socially, being poorly cared and nourished, wandering, and experiencing accidents that will endanger their life, such as falling and maltreatment.
Alzheimer’s disease is a health problem that should be taken seriously. Both potential sufferers and their family members are responsible with its monitoring and treatment even before it becomes a problem.

Know the Causes and Risk Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease has both clear and hypothetical causes. Genetic factor is often cited as the clearest cause of this disease. People with Alzheimer’s disease running in their family as well as those with apolipoprotein E or APOE gene are at greater risk of developing this health problem. There are also some hypothetical causes of this disease, including the reduction of neurotransmitter acetylcholine synthesis, extracellular amyloid beta deposits, protein abnormalities, poor blood brain barrier function, the disruption of cellular homeostasis of biometals, spirochetes bacterium infection, and neurodegeneration process proposed by Barry Reisberg in 1980s. because genetic factor is the only clear cause of Alzheimer’s disease, for people who are at risk to developing this disease, the best way to avoid it and to prevent it from worsening is by avoiding its risk factors.
What are the risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease? There are some factors that are known to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Age becomes the most unavoidable one. As people grow older, they will become more vulnerable to this disease; however, senior people who are known to live with healthy lifestyle can cope with this disease better. Maintaining proper cardiovascular exercise, diet that is low in fat and rich in plant-based nutrients, cognitive stimulation, and excellent social engagement is a great way to defend yourself from Alzheimer’s disease.
Certain diseases that negatively affect vascular health, such as diabetes and hypercholesterolemia, are also risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Those diseases are avoidable. Therefore, as long as you try to avoid them, you are at lower risk to developing Alzheimer’s disease. Other known risk factors for this disease include prior head injury and sleep disorders.

Five Known Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
Being aware of all early signs of Alzheimer’s disease is important as it helps you get prepared for the danger that you may encounter. By dealing with those signs properly, you will have better chance to fight this disease and to prevent it from crippling you physically and mentally. Here are five most commonly cited early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
1.             Memory loss
Forgetfulness is normal; however, if it starts to disrupt your life and your daily activities, you should beware of it. If someone tells you that you have asked the same question over and over, that you keep forgetting appointments, that you misplace things and forget to put them, and that you easily forget something that you have just learned, the loss of memory you are suffering from is not considered normal.
2.             Poor problem-solving capacity, poor judgment and poor work productivity
If it becomes more difficult for you to solve problems, even the simplest ones, and to work at least as productively as you did before, you may be at risk of developing this disease. If you make numerous decisions that backfire or don’t yield your expected result, your poor judgment might also be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease development.
3.             Trouble reading, speaking, writing, calculating, and understanding visual clues.
If it becomes more difficult for you to speak, to work with texts and numbers, and to determine time, color and distance, you might be at risk of developing this disease.
4.             Mood swing and personality disorder
If you frequently feel depressed, stressed, fearful, angry, or anxious, especially for reasons that you don’t know, your psychological condition might be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
5.             Poor social engagement
If you no longer have desire to spend your time with your family, relatives and friends, your pool social engagement can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. People with this disease are known to be reclusive. This is the reason why even a devoted caregiver often cannot bear the emotional stress of serving those people.
If you start to experience those signs, deal with them promptly and properly. Alzheimer’s disease is indeed irreversible as the damage that it causes is permanent; however, early signs of this disease can be dealt with effectively if you want to prevent the disease from crippling your life too soon. There are some evidences showing that people with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease can fight this disease and delay its attack by improving their lifestyle.

Getting Medical Help for Alzheimer’s Disease
People with Alzheimer’s disease can prevent the disease from ruining their life by getting necessary medical help. If you or your family members believe that you have contracted this disease, you may want to consult a medical professional as soon as possible. Make a list of all symptoms that you experience or have your caregiver do it for you and then visit a doctor or psychiatrist office, preferably together with your family. To diagnose your condition, the doctor may perform physical and neurological examination, blood tests, neuropsychological test, and brain imagining. Necessary medical treatment will be provided if you are positively affected by the disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease Treatments
Medical treatment that is available for Alzheimer’s diseases sufferers is done through the administering of certain drugs. To establish communication between important cells in the brain, a neurotransmitter-containing drugs, such as donepezil and rivastigmine, might be administered to them. Another drug called memantine is also known for its effectiveness in improving brain cell communication. Because people with this disease often have behavioral problem, antidepressants might also be administered to help reduce this problem.
There are also non-medical treatments available for them. Creating supportive and safe environment in their home as well as planning exercise and diet routine for them is the most effective one. There are also some known alternative medicines for Alzheimer’s disease sufferers, including vitamin E, curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids, and ginkgo. Most of those alternative medicines are known for their beneficial effects for the brain. Although there is no evidence that they can prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s disease, they are proven to be able to slow down the progress of cognitive decline and to improve the sufferers’ overall health.