Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease. As such, it is also the most common type of brain disease classed as dementia. The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is generally genetic, with a multiple number of genes involved in its formation and its complications. However, head injuries, depression and plague are thought to bring about, or at least increase, the development of the disease and its symptoms
The first symptoms are generally limited to short-term memory loss, mood swings and disorientation, all progressing continuously to the point of causing the lack of recognition of well-known people, lack of trust in society and loss of grip on ties personal. In the final stages, the body’s metabolic functions begin to deteriorate, with the possible outcome of death.
Estimates vary based on the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease worldwide. There may be between 21 and 35 million people living with it living in the world. Most afflicted people are 65 or older, although there is a certain percentage of early-onset Alzheimer’s cases. Since the initial symptoms of the disease are common problems related to aging, it is often very difficult to definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s. Common methods of identification are through clinical case studies and cognitive tests and, with them, the use of medical images of the brain and blood tests are undertaken to exclude other factors.
At present, there are no known treatments that permanently promote or prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. However, some medications and lifestyle therapies can help slow the degeneration, at least temporarily. Alzheimer’s patients often have to depend on the care of caregivers. Antipsychotic drugs are prescribed for psychotic symptoms, but are not generally recommended due to their potentially serious side effects in Alzheimer’s cases. Drugs such as tacrine, donepezil, galantamine and memantine are generally prescribed for treatment. None of these medicines provide substantial benefits or reverse the progress of the disease. Various lifestyle therapies focused on stimulating memory were considered effective in the stop progression. Treatment in the later stages consists mainly of palliative care, usually in a hospice. Patients generally live 3 to 9 years after diagnosis. In developed countries, treatment for Alzheimer’s is one of the most expensive of all terminal illnesses.
Caregiving is considered crucial in cases involving Alzheimer’s patients. In the early stages, caring for people close to patients is beneficial. Some changes to the patient’s immediate environment are necessary, such as keeping homes away from harmful substances, putting labels on objects so that they are easily identifiable and helping the patient to live with an easier routine. However, in the later stages specialized assistance may be needed in a hospital or hospice.
A diet rich in fish, vegetables and cheese and low in fat is generally associated with low probability of Alzheimer’s disease. Hobbies that need mental effort, such as board games, solving puzzles, painting or reading, are considered effective in helping to prevent the disease. People who smoke are at greater risk of being affected. Even people who practice regular physical activity and people with a second language knowledge are at low risk. Doctors emphasize normal social interactions, both in intimate relationships and in the wider community, as important factors that can promote or hinder the disease.