What Is Alzheimer Disease
Alzheimer disease, which affects some older people, is different from everyday forgetting. It is a condition that permanently affects the brain. Over time, the disease makes it harder to remember even basic stuff, like how to tie a shoe.
Eventually, the person may have trouble remembering the names and faces of family members or even who he or she is. This can be very sad for the person and his or her family.
It’s important to know that Alzheimer disease does not affect kids. It usually affects people over 65 years of age. Researchers have found medicines that seem to slow the disease down. And there’s hope that someday there will be a cure.
Symptoms 12 Years Before
According to a study that evaluated different cognitive functions in several hundred elderly people, individuals who will develop Alzheimers disease start to have deficits in semantic memory up to 12 years before being diagnosed with dementia. Semantic memory difficulties occur before forgetting past events, spatial-temporal disorientation, loss of personal belongings or speech difficulties.
However, these deficits are rarely reported by people when they complain about their memory, as they usually find ways to compensate for these difficulties in their daily lives. They will use catchwords, such as thing, to describe concepts that they can no longer name. This explains why semantic memory has been studied very little in relation to Alzheimers disease.
Do You Forget How To Walk In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers
Asked by terry
Do You Forget How To Walk In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers
Does a person forget how to walk in the end stages of alzheimers. My mom has lost her ability to use the toilet,feed herself and is now struggling to walk. She has also lost the ability to finish a sentence. This has all occurred during the last 4 months. It all seems so fast now. She has also been diagnosed with seizures a few weeks ago.
Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
Normal Forgetting Or Alzheimers Can You Tell The Difference
Currently, 40 per cent of people age 65+ experience some form of memory loss. If no medical condition is found, then its classified as age-associated memory impairment. And such forgetting is considered a part of the normal aging process.
The statistics for Alzheimers disease are devastating. Currently 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimers disease and this number will increase to 14 million as soon as the year 2050.
Alzheimers is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. It kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Every 65 seconds, a person is diagnosed with this disease here in the United States. And, most alarming, 1 in 3 seniors age 65 and older will die of Alzheimers disease.
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Does Your Memory Loss Affect Your Ability To Function
The primary difference between age-related memory loss and dementia is that the former isnt disabling. The memory lapses have little impact on your daily performance and ability to do what you want to do. Dementia, on the other hand, is marked by a persistent, disabling decline in two or more intellectual abilities such as memory, language, judgment, and abstract thinking.
When memory loss becomes so pervasive and severe that it disrupts your work, hobbies, social activities, and family relationships, you may be experiencing the warning signs of Alzheimers disease, or another disorder that causes dementia, or a condition that mimics dementia.
What Kind Of Memory Can You Forget About Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease, a type of neurodegenerative dementia that affects memory, is well known in Canada. Over 500,000 Live with it. This number is expected to double over the next decade as the population ages.
Alzheimers disease scares people. When they forget to buy a product at a grocery store, they may blame it for a joke. When they cant remember the name of a movie actor, they worry about it. Or you might look at an elderly person who is confused and think about it. But do you really know what behaviors can help diagnose Alzheimers disease?
As researchers at the Institute of Aging Neuropsychology at the Research Center of the University of Montreal Institute, we are studying this issue. The answer is not easy.
Alzheimers disease affects memory. But memories are not a single entity, like the basket in which all our memories are stacked. Therefore, it is important to recognize the different types of memory and how much they are affected by Alzheimers disease.
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When Forgetting Things Means See Your Doctor
It can be hard to know when to be concerned about your memory. Maybe you have too many other medical problems that distract you from bringing up your memory issues to your doctor. But its never a good idea to overlook your mental health.
Losing track of what season it is, for example, or forgetting where you are are red flags you should talk to your doctor about, as these are seen more often with Alzheimers disease, Dr. Factora says.
Report those types of concerns and any of the following to your doctor, especially if you have more than one of these symptoms and they arent going away over time:
How Is Dementia Diagnosed
Your doctor will do a physical exam and review your symptoms. He or she can do tests to find out if dementia is the cause of your symptoms. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can talk about treatment options.
If your family member shows signs, try to get them to see a doctor. You may want to go to the visit with them. This lets you speak with the doctor in private. You can tell them how your loved one is acting and learn about treatment.
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When To See A Doctor For Memory Loss
Its time to consult a doctor when memory lapses become frequent enough or sufficiently noticeable to concern you or a family member. If you get to that point, make an appointment as soon as possible to talk with your primary physician and have a thorough physical examination. Even if youre not displaying all the necessary symptoms to indicate dementia, now may be a good time to take steps to prevent a small problem becoming a larger one.
Your doctor can assess your personal risk factors, evaluate your symptoms, eliminate reversible causes of memory loss, and help you obtain appropriate care. Early diagnosis can treat reversible causes of memory loss, lessen decline in vascular dementia, or improve the quality of life in Alzheimers or other types of dementia.
Reversible Causes Of Memory Loss
Its important to remember that memory loss doesnt automatically mean that you have dementia. There are many other reasons why you may be experiencing cognitive problems, including stress, depression, and even vitamin deficiencies. Thats why its so important to go to a doctor to get an official diagnosis if youre experiencing problems.
Sometimes, even what looks like significant memory loss can be caused by treatable conditions and reversible external factors, such as:
Depression. Depression can mimic the signs of memory loss, making it hard for you to concentrate, stay organized, remember things, and get stuff done. Depression is a common problem in older adultsespecially if youre less social and active than you used to be or youve recently experienced a number of important losses or major life changes .
Vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 protects neurons and is vital to healthy brain functioning. In fact, a lack of B12 can cause permanent damage to the brain. Older people have a slower nutritional absorption rate, which can make it difficult for you to get the B12 your mind and body need. If you smoke or drink, you may be at particular risk. If you address a vitamin B12 deficiency early, you can reverse the associated memory problems. Treatment is available in the form of a monthly injection.
Are you taking three or more drugs?
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Dementia And Other Brain Issues
Alzheimers dementia is the most common type of dementia, followed by vascular dementia. They have similar symptoms: confusion, getting lost, forgetting close friends or family, or an inability to do calculations like balance the checkbook. Certain medical conditions thyroid disorders, syphilis can lead to dementia symptoms, and less common types of dementia can have different kinds of symptoms. Alzheimers has a distinct set of symptoms often associated with certain changes in the brain.
Focusing on safety and appropriate supervision, particularly in the home, is critical for all people with dementia. Your doctor or a social worker can help you find support.
Its also important to be aware of two other things that can lead to decreased mental functioning delirium and depression.
Delirium, a rapid change in cognition or mental functioning, can occur in people with an acute medical illness, like pneumonia or even COVID-19 infection. Delirium can occur in patients in the hospital or at home. Risk for delirium increases with age or previous brain injuries symptoms include decreased attention span and memory issues.
Depression can happen at any time, but its more common with aging. How can you tell if youre depressed? Heres one simple definition: when your mood remains low and youve lost interest or joy in activities you once loved.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, an umbrella term for a number of conditions that involve changes to memory, thinking, and judgment that ultimately interfere with a person’s independence and ability to function. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, about 5.8 million people are living with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. today. Most cases are diagnosed in people older than 65.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. A person with Alzheimer’s lives, on average, four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years.
Although Alzheimer’s currently has no cure, there is one treatment, a drug called aducanumab that may slow cognitive decline, the Alzheimer’s Association says.
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What Will The Doctor Do
It can be hard for a doctor to diagnose Alzheimer disease because many of its symptoms can be like those of other conditions affecting the brain. The doctor will talk to the patient, find out about any medical problems the person has, and will examine him or her.
The doctor can ask the person questions or have the person take a written test to see how well his or her memory is working. Doctors also can use medical tests to take a detailed picture of the brain. They can study these images and look for signs of Alzheimer disease.
When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer disease, the doctor may prescribe medicine to help with memory and thinking. The doctor also might give the person medicine for other problems, such as depression . Unfortunately, the medicines that the doctors have can’t cure Alzheimer disease they just help slow it down.
When Someone You Love Has Alzheimer Disease
You might feel sad or angry or both if someone you love has Alzheimer disease. You might feel nervous around the person, especially if he or she is having trouble remembering important things or can no longer take care of himself or herself.
You might not want to go visit the person, even though your mom or dad wants you to. You are definitely not alone in these feelings. Try talking with a parent or another trusted adult. Just saying what’s on your mind might help you feel better. You also may learn that the adults in your life are having struggles of their own with the situation.
If you visit a loved one who has Alzheimer disease, try to be patient. He or she may have good days and bad days. It can be sad if you can’t have fun in the same ways together. Maybe you and your grandmother liked to go to concerts. If that’s no longer possible, maybe bring her some wonderful music and listen together. It’s a way to show her that you care and showing that love is important, even if her memory is failing.
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Brain Exercises To Combat Memory Loss
Just as physical exercise can make and keep your body stronger, mental exercise can make your brain work better and lower your risk of mental decline. Try to find brain exercises that you find enjoyable. The more pleasurable an activity is to you, the more powerful its effect will be on your brain. You can make some activities more enjoyable by appealing to your sensesby playing music during the exercise, for example, or lighting a scented candle, or rewarding yourself after youve finished.
Follow A Regular Routine
Without a doubt, patience is an essential quality for dementia caregivers. Kenny recommends setting a daily routine for seniors with Alzheimers because they tend to thrive on familiarity and consistency. However, a certain degree of flexibility is needed to address fluctuations in a loved ones mood and dementia symptoms.
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What About Alzheimers Disease
So what is more worrisome, forgetting the name of the film you watched the previous night, or mixing up the names of famous singers?
Typically, Alzheimers disease is associated with a decline in episodic memory. Patients will complain that they cant remember events theyve experienced, conversations theyve had or things theyve done. It is this type of memory that is most often tested in neuropsychology when assessing dementia, and it is also this type of memory that is studied in the vast majority of research being carried out on Alzheimers disease.
However, a new paradigm is emerging in clinical research, particularly in the laboratory where we conduct our research.
Recent studies show that in the progression of Alzheimers disease, semantic memory is affected first. We have seen that even before forgetting their memories of past events, patients show a gradual decline in their general knowledge.
For example, they have more difficulty than healthy older adults in naming celebrities such as Albert Einstein, or identifying well-known logos such as Pepsi. They also have difficulty answering questions about the biography of celebrities for example, whether Maurice Richard was a singer answering specific questions about objects or animals does an ostrich run, fly or swim? or recognizing objects such as a harmonica, a helicopter or an igloo from a drawing.
First In Last Out: Dementias Impact On Memory
There are many different types of dementia and each affects the brain in different ways. In Alzheimers disease, the hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain to be damaged. One study found that hippocampal atrophy associated with early AD amounts to a 15 to 30 percent reduction in volume.
The first thing that gets affected is the ability to take in new memories, explains Amanda Smith, MD, director of clinical research at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimers Center and Research Institute.
When the hippocampus isnt functioning correctly, it directly inhibits the ability to process and retain new and recent information. Since this information is never properly encoded, no memory is formed and therefore it cannot be recalled. This is why an Alzheimers patient might remember an event from 20 years ago but cant remember what they did mere minutes ago.
First in, last out is often used to describe the peculiar pattern of memory loss that AD causes. This concept is a take on an inventory valuation method used in accounting. In this application, though, it means that ones first memories like things learned in childhood and young adulthood are the last to fade. The reverse is also true more recent information is the first to be forgotten in Alzheimers patients.
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What Causes Dementia
Dementia is caused by the damage of brain cells. A brain disease, such as Alzheimers, could trigger dementia. A brain tumor, head injury, or stroke could cause dementia.
Dementia isnt the same as normal aging. As you get older, it becomes harder to recall information. Your short- and long-term and remote memories are less affected by aging. Your recent memory is more affected. For example, you may forget what you ate for breakfast or where you set your keys. These are normal changes.
A memory problem is serious when it affects your daily life. Memory problems that arent part of normal aging include:
- Forgetting things more often than you used to.
- Forgetting how to do things youve done many times before.
- Trouble learning new things.
- Repeating phrases or stories in the same conversation.
- Trouble making choices or handling money.
- Not being able to keep track of what happens each day.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have. He or she can decide if a medicine or condition may be affecting your memory.
When a loved one has dementia, your family doctor can be a trusted resource and partner in their care. Read More