Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

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Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia that is being worsen every time passes by / Photo by: Lighthunter via Shutterstock


Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia. It is also a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time. The most common early symptom that most patients experience is the difficulty in remembering recent events or short-term memory loss. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases and most people with the disease are diagnosed after the age of 65. As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation, mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self-care, and behavioral issues. The patient who experiences Alzheimer’s might often withdraw from family and the society since their intellectual and social skills could be affected once the Alzheimer’s disease hits them.


The current Alzheimer’s disease medications and management strategies may temporarily improve the symptoms although there is still no cure that will completely combat the disease and let the patient have a normal life. These treatments could sometimes help people with Alzheimer’s disease to maximize function and maintain independence for a little while longer, and those people who are affected might rely on others for assistance, often placing a burden on the caregiver. Furthermore, exercise programmes may be beneficial with respect to activities of daily living and can potentially improve outcomes, while behavioral problems or psychosis due to dementia are often treated with antipsychotics.


According to a website called, Healthline, genetics may play a vital role in the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Apolipoprotein E (APOE) is a gene that has been linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms in elderly people. The APOE gene provides instructions for making a protein called apolipoprotein E which combines with fats (lipids) in the body to form molecules called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are responsible for packaging cholesterol and other fats and carrying them through the bloodstream.

Scientists believe that genetics and a protein called Apolipoprotein E can cause Alzheimer's to the elderly / Photo by: Lucky Business via Shutterstock


Changes in the patient's’ behavior and attitude might also reflect once the progression of their disease happens. The person with Alzheimer’s disease might change the way their interactions with other people because their brain cells are dying slowly, so the brain works less well over the course of time.  According to the National Institute of Aging, people with Alzheimer’s disease might experience a common personality and behavior changes which includes, getting upset, worried, and angry more easily; acting depressed or not interested in things; hiding things or believing other people are hiding things; imagining things that aren’t there; wandering away from home; pacing a lot; showing unusual sexual behavior; hitting other people; misunderstanding what he or she sees or hears.


Problems in their surroundings could also affect the behavior of a person with Alzheimer’s disease. Having feelings of sadness, fear, stress, confusion, or anxiety could cause a very distressing behavior which could lead to tantrum on the elderly person. They might also feel different when they experience health-related problems like, illness, pain, new medications, lack of sleep, infections, constipation, hunger or thirst, and problems that involve seeing or hearing.


Signs of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most life-changing diseases that a person could have in their lifetime. It can greatly affect a person and change the way how they live their life which is why many people are afraid of having this disease. Imagine living in a life where a person can’t recognize the closest people in their life and not being able to remember every precious moment that they had with them. According to the National Institute on Aging, the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s is different from every other individual. According to an article published by The Sun, Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment that is related to Alzheimer’s disease, patients might lose common items including keys and glasses around their house and they might struggle to find the word they are looking for when they are having a conversation with other people.

One of the signs of Alzheimer's the difficulty to find words / Photo by: Rawpixel.com via Shutterstock


Early symptoms of having Alzheimer’s disease include the decline in non-memory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, visual/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment. The course of the disease is divided into four stages called, preclinical, mild, moderate, and severe which shows a progressive pattern of cognitive and functional impairment to the patient’s brain.


Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease is the period where an individual’s brain will begin to show some changes in its structure as compared to its normal brain condition, detailed neuropsychological testing can reveal mild cognitive difficulties up to eight years before a person fulfills the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of the AD. In people with the Early stage of Alzheimer’s, the increasing impairment of learning and memory will eventually lead to a definitive diagnosis and language problems, such as shrinking vocabulary and decreased word fluency could be seen in the patient.

Meanwhile, moderate stage shows the progressive deterioration that eventually hinders independence, with subjects being unable to perform the most common activities of daily living. The changes in their behavioral and neuropsychiatric conditions will be more prevalent and they might experience irritability, aggression, and illusions.


Lastly, during the advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient will be completely dependent on his/her caregiver since their muscle mass and mobility will deteriorate to the point that they will be bedridden and they will be unable to feed themselves.



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