What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a disorder of the brain that affects a person’s memory, thinking and overtime the ability to enact in simplest tasks.
- It is most prevalent with age, older individuals tend to have it more and It is the most common cause of dementia in older adults.
- The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, this does not mean the disease is not seen in the younger population.
- Over 200,000 people under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease
- Alzheimer’s is also the 6th leading cause of death in American and 3rd among the older population just behind heart attacks and cancer.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
- The most common symptom is difficulty remembering newly learned tasks/ information.
- Mood and behavior changes
- Deepening confusion about events, time and place
- Unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers
- Difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.
Family members need to know those symptoms and take them seriously if they are presented in their loved ones.
Alzheimer’s and the brain
Before we go any farther let us understand what happens in the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s. They are two things you need to know, Plaques and Tangles.
- Plaques are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid that build up in the spaces between nerve cells.
- Tangles are twisted fibers of another protein called tau that build up inside cells.
Abnormality in these structures have been found in individuals with Alzheimer’s. Another key player is the loss in connectivity between neurons and the brain. As we age those connections tends to weaken hence leading to memory loss. Other studies have linked Alzheimer’s to over activation of the PI3-k (phosphoinositide 3-kinase)/ AKT pathway which is initiated by insulin. The video below does a better explanation of how the brain is affect in Alzheimer’s (please watch).
How Long Can a Person Live with Alzheimer’s disease?
- If you are over 80 life expectance with the disease is about 3 to 4 years, and 10 years for younger patients.
Is there a cure?
The answer is no, there is no cure. Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.
Clink the link below to see how you can help a loved one with Alzheimer’s
If you or a loved one is looking for help call the numbers below or visit the websites for more information.